For immediate release
A hunger strike at the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre has inspired a national Freedom Fast, scheduled for International Women’s Day (8 March).
On 21 February more than 100 people detained in Yarl’s Wood engaged in a three day hunger strike protesting the government’s practice of indefinite detention and the inhumane conditions of the centre. In a statement released on 26 February they escalated to an all out strike, saying “we will cease to participate in detention, we will not eat, use their facilities or work for them.”
Since then, the Home Office has taken punitive action, including by attempting to deport two women on Saturday 3rd March, before their case was complete. This second deportation attempt was halted thanks to pressure from the women’s friends, the involvement of two MPs and ultimately the intervention of Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP.
In response to the escalating injustice, hundreds of people across Britain are expected to join in a 24 hour fast on Thursday 8th March – International Women’s Day, called by migrants rights campaigners and friends of people in Yarl´s Wood, who have set up a website for people to pledge at freedomfastyarlswood.com
“We call on all people of conscience to join us in a 24 hour fast on 8th March, International Women’s Day. We feel it is our responsibility to call the Home Office out, and take action with our bodies too; it is outrageous that 100 years after some women got the vote, elected governments can still openly enforce these inhumane and racist measures.”
Britain is the only country in Europe which continues to detain people indefinitely. The practice is opposed by Labour, Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Green Party and Plaid Cymru.
A full list of the demands of the Yarl’s Wood Hunger Strikers is below:
We want an end to indefinite detention and a return to the original plan of the 28 day limit.
We want the Home Office to respect Article 8.
We want the Home office to respect the European Convention of Human Rights regarding refugees and asylum seekers.
We want the Home Office to respect due process and stop deporting people before their cases are decided or appeals are heard.
We want due processes before we are imprisoned on immigration matters.
We want a fair bail process and the Home Office to end the process of selective evidence disclosure to the immigration tribunal courts and instead disclosure of all evidence to ensure a fair judgement is reached.
We want adequate healthcare and especially the mental health nurse to stop operating as an extension of the Home Office asking people such questions as, “did you know you were going to stay in the UK when you entered?”
We want the Home Office to stop detaining the vulnerable people, that is victims of rape, that is torture, all forms of torture, trafficking, forced labour, the disabled, the mentally ill and so on.
We want amnesty for all people who have lived in the UK for more than 10 years and an end to the exiling of those who came as children and are culturally British.
We want an end to the Home Office’s of employing detainees to do menial work for £1 per hour, it prays on the vulnerable and forces them to participate in their own detention.
We want an end to charter flights and the snatching of people from their beds in the night and herding them like animals.
For further information and to arrange interviews, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The hashtag is #hungerforfreedom