Asylum Seekers on Hunger Strike

It’s not the first time recently that ‘failed’, detained asylum seekers have taken matters into their own hands in protest against their terrible treatment by Britain’s inhuman asylum system. And again it’s happening at Yarl’s Wood:

For two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 100 women detained staged a hunger strike to protest the way they are being deported to their countries of residence. Some of them are deported the day following their arrest, without even being allowed to get a lawyer, inform their family and friends of their status or even just keep their belongings.

Women arrested are from China, Pakistan, India, Latin America and other countries. Every day a minimum of six women are deported, wearing the same clothes they arrived in because they were not allowed to get their own clothes. In addition, many of them did not have time to hear the answer to their appeal. Many of them don’t speak English and are unable to implement their rights.

It is reported that a woman tried to commit suicide. She cut her veins of both hands but a guard stopped her and took her to the hospital. This is something that is happening on a daily basis. Depression, anxiety, fear, anxiety, uncertainty … “It is a psychological torture. We are conscious we have nothing to lose. They bring the TV to show all the comforts we have, but they do not mind that we have no rights, even to know how our cases are developing.”

According to them, their appeals are not being studied in a reasonable length of time and many are deported without having a response from the Home Office. Inmates also complain that the food they receive is inadequate.

These are people who are in detention, without having committed a crime. They do not have access to legal aid, are not being given the opportunity to prove their cases, and face violence from their guards. Yet the mainstream media isn’t interested in such constant, mainstreamed abuse. It’s far from unusual. Why should anyone, let alone people who haven’t committed a crime, have to resort to a hunger strike in order to be able to access adequate health care, proper food and highlight the detention of children?!

Amnesty International protested yesterday in support of asylum seekers’ rights. You can see the photos here.

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One response to “Asylum Seekers on Hunger Strike

  1. I’ve been getting updates on this all week. Here’s one from Friday:

    “I thought I was going to die, I really did” Steve Omoru speaking from Colonbrook IRC, 16:45 today

    It took a fax to immigration at Colnbrook to get Steve to the phone!

    When Steve picked up the phone in Colnbrook, he said hello and them immediately broke down into uncontrollable sobbing, I have never heard anyone so distressed in all my life. It took 3/4 minutes of my talking him down to where he could get a sentence together and for the whole of the phone call he was constantly breaking down.

    He said, yesterday about 10 guards had grabbed him and began to lay into him with punches and kicks, they wrestled him to the ground and then sat on him, cutting off his breath it was at this point Steve said, “I thought I was going to die, I really did”. They then brought him to Colnbrook. He is complaining of pain all over his body, in particular his head, neck and chest.

    Many people tried to phone him earlier today but were told they could not speak to him. Both Nicki Rensten from FIFR and myself faxed immigration at Colnbrook to complain and the response was instant, Nicki got a message saying it should never of happened, I got a phone call from immigration saying that Steve was being brought immediately to the phone, which he was.

    For Steve the most unbearable thing of the last 24 hours had not been the severe beating he got; but the separation from his children and his partner, this is destroying him.

    John O

    Steve and his family still do not have a support group to help them set up and an Anti-Deportation Campaign.

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