Women detainees launch hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre – “Release us and close this place down.”

Women detainees launch hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre – “Release us and close this place down.”

Over 40 women in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre have gone on hunger strike protesting against a charter flight (Tues 27 Nov) that will take traumatised women back to Nigeria. Women from many different countries including, Bolivia, China, Ghana, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Romania, South Africa, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Zambia, have come together to take this action.

A case currently in court of people (known as the Stansted 15) who blocked a charter flight from taking off in 28 March 2017, has brought to light the terrible brutality of these pre-booked flights. People are scooped up, sometimes regardless of the status of their legal case, and forced onto planes to fill seats.

One of the women in the All African Women’s Group, a self-help group of women asylum seekers and refugees, was on the flight that was stopped by the Stansted 15 last March. She says:

“I’ve lived in Britain for almost 30 years and have indefinite leave to remain – yet I was taken from my home to Yarl’s Wood and put on a flight within six days despite my lawyer’s protests to the Home Office – I was so thankful to the young people for stopping this flight, they saved mine and other people’s lives.”

Women in Yarl’s Wood are also protesting appalling conditions inside1,2. A dossierhttps://ymlpsend6.net/015fcuqhyaoaehuqjavahshalauey/click.php" href="#footnote3_fio12r0">3

Fidelia from Bolivia spoke to BWRAP, which is co-ordinating support for the hunger strikers, saying that she is severely distressed at being detained.

“I came to the UK for safety as my life was threatened by drug gangs after I spoke out. I’ve been in the UK for over 11 years. I’m a cancer survivor and I need to see a specialist but all I’ve been given is paracetamol! I’ve been held here for seven months for no reason.”

Another woman commented:
“We haven’t had the chance to have a proper legal process. The Home Office has been refusing evidence and documents and want to send us back without even looking at our cases. Being here is mentally disturbing – everyone is damaged, physically and emotionally.”

The chief inspector of prisons condemned Yarl’s Wood as ‘a place of national concern’.

Women inside Yarl’s Wood are demanding: an end to charter flights, the closure of detention centres, the reinstatement of legal aid for immigration cases, an end to mothers being separated from their children by detention and for rape and sexual abuse to be recognised as torture and therefore grounds for asylum.

Women are available for interviews – please call Cristel on 07456 525227

Posted By

R Totale
Nov 29 2018 19:10

Share


  • We haven’t had the chance to have a proper legal process. The Home Office has been refusing evidence and documents and want to send us back without even looking at our cases. Being here is mentally disturbing – everyone is damaged, physically and emotionally.

    Yarl's Wood detainee

Attached files

Comments

Dannny
Dec 3 2018 21:26

From Black Women's Rape Action Project press release:
STOP PRESS:

TWENTY ONE WOMEN RELEASED - HUNGER STRIKE SUSPENDED

The hunger strike of over 40 women in Yarl’s Wood IRC which started on Monday night in protest at eight women being taken from detention and forced onto a charter flight back to Nigeria, has been suspended.

Four women (and one woman’s partner) DID NOT FLY. But shamefully the Home Office deported two women with severe walking disabilities in wheelchairs

Speaking to Black Women’s Rape Action Project which with the All African Women’s Group has been providing daily support to the hunger strikers, Mercy, one of the women said:

“We are suspending the hunger strike but will continue to protest and speak out. . . the pressure has not stopped – another charter flight is being planned to remove our Latina sisters from tomorrow . . . the Home Office tell us nothing they just come for us in the night . . . they have many ways to torture us . . . the system is wrecking our health. . . they are trying to break us down and isolate from our support networks and lawyer . . . We know people are with us and we thank everyone for their tremendous support. Every message helps us to keep our spirits up.”

Since the strike began national and international messages of support have poured in including from Maru Mora Villalpando, North West Detention Center Resistance and the Latino advocacy organisation a grassroots undocumented led movement in Washington State, USA that works to end the detention of immigrants and stop all deportations.

People will have seen the migrant caravan which has arrived at the Mexican/US border. But what is never mentioned is the US responsibility for destabilising countries – for example it backed a coup in Honduras against elected President Manuel Zelaya and the resulting persecution, poverty and violence forced people to flee their homes.

As ever women - the primary carers for children and loved ones -- bear the brunt of unjust immigration policies. Over 70% of women who contact us from Yarl’s Wood are victims of rape and other violence. We support women’s demands to

· Close all detention centres and release people so we can pursue our right to remain
· Stop all charter flights – like the Windrush generation, many people are illegally deported when they still have ongoing cases
· We demand to know what has happened to our disabled sisters and all who were deported on Tuesday night. If five came back, maybe none should have been on the flight!