‘The UK once welcomed Refugees - now we detain them indefinitely’. Read the Kamila Shamsie article in The Guardian
The UK is the only country in Western Europe that detains refugees indefinitely; for people unlucky enough to be detained under immigration rules, there is no maximum time limit on that detention. Unlike prisoners, who count down tyhe days of their sentence, refugees who are detained count upwards, indefinitely, not knowing how long they will be there for.
Around half of people held in immigration detention are asylum seekers, and many have family ties in the UK. Around 25,000 migrants are detained in the UK every year. There are, at present, ten detention Immigration Removal Centres in the UK. These are run by private security companies and run by the Prison Service. People in detention cannot leave and have very limited freedom of movement within the centres. Security levels are similar to prisons. It costs, on average, more than £30,000 to detain someone for a year. The longest we know someone to have been detained is nine years. There is no judicial oversight of the decision to detain.
Rufugee Tales is a campaign to change the law in Britain and introduce a maximum detention of 28 days. It lobbies politicians of all parties, and organises walks in solidarity with refufees every year. It also commissions authors to tell the stories of real refugees (anonymously). All proceeds from book sales go to Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group and Kent Refugee Help.