Saturday, March 8, 2014

USA: 750 immigration detainees on hunger strike

A story from the site of AP

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Immigrant-rights activists rallied outside the Northwest Detention Center on Saturday, while at least 750 detainees protested their treatment and called for an end to deportations with a hunger strike.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department said on Saturday morning that 750 detainees had refused to eat and said they were on a hunger strike.

Activist Maru Mora Villalpando said the hunger strike started Friday as a protest of deportations as well as center conditions. She said the hunger strikers, who she believes number more than 1,000, are seeking better food and treatment as well as better pay for center jobs.

"We are concerned for their welfare, and we support their brave stand against inhumane treatment. We are gravely concerned about retaliation, particularly against the hunger-strike leaders," Villalpando said.

The center currently houses nearly 1,300 people being investigated for possible deportation.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Immigrant Stories: The nurse, the detention centre & the women with bruises

From: Politics.co.uk
By Ian Dunt, Feb. 5, 2014

An occasional series of Immigrant Stories, shining a light on the people trapped in Britain's immigration system.

"I was working in a local hospital when I saw these women come in with handcuffs on," Susan says.

Susan is not her real name. She talks on condition of anonymity.

"I asked about it. It was clear they'd committed no crime.

"They'd been hunger striking in the corridors of the nearby detention centre. They were grabbed by the guards.

"The nursing notes said they had no injuries and were fine. When I saw them they clearly had wrist bruises which they sustained in Yarl's Wood. There were bruises on their backs as well. They were very distressed."

Susan's experience left her disturbed. Why were women who had committed no crime arriving in handcuffs, bruised, under detention?

A little while later she read a newspaper report about Yarl's Wood. Security personnel were guarding the perimeter fence against a reverend dressed as Santa trying to give gifts to the children locked up inside.

Read the rest here.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's new Directive on Segregation: Why We Need Further Protections

New Report:

In the press:

U.S. Solitary Confinement Practices of Immigrant Detainees Deficient: International Human Rights Students, Experts at John Marshall in Chicago

From: PR Web, Feb. 5, 2014

New research from the International Human Rights Clinic at The John Marshall Law School details deficiencies in current U.S. detention practices, as well as recommends measures to ensure immigrant detainees are protected and treated humanely.

Read the rest here.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Palpable desperation: Inside the invisible world of immigration detention

Reblogged from: New Statesman, Nov. 9th 2013
By Katharine Sacks-Jones

The reports of sexual abuse at the Yarl's Wood detention centre were sadly not much of a surprise to people who work with immigration detainees.

Recent reports of sexual abuse at Yarl’s Wood shine a small spotlight on the otherwise invisible world of immigration detention. They detail how guards preyed on isolated women, subjecting them to unwanted advances, using their positions of power to coerce them into sexual acts. Shocking yes. But sadly not much of a surprise to people who work with immigration detainees.

As a trustee of a small charity, Bail for Immigration Detainees, I visited Yarl’s Wood late last year. The desperation was palpable. One of the women I met had heavily bandaged wrists. She was on 24-hour suicide watch after one failed attempt to take her own life. She, like others I spoke to, was desperate to get out of what is little more than a prison. With 30,000 people detained per year, these women are far from rare.

Many people in detention - both men and women - are incredibly vulnerable. They are often fleeing violence and persecution. About half have claimed asylum. Some have been the victims of torture and rape.  To have faced and survived such trauma, to have undertaken a difficult journey to get away, to have left behind loved ones and the world that you know, to then reach supposed safety only to be locked up is a cruel irony. And to be detained with no release date and no time-limit must be utterly hopeless.


It is little surprise that detention is incredibly damaging. Self-harm and detention go hand in hand, with studies suggesting there are higher levels of suicide and self-harm amongst detained immigrants than amongst the prison population. The impacts on physical and mental ill health are well-documented - severe distress and depression as a result of detention are common.

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hunger-Thirst strike in Dutch deportation centers (NL)

People inside immigrant detention centers in The Netherlands (Rotterdam / Schiphol - Amsterdam) are on a hunger strike. Now several are also refusing to drink. We need to show support and make politicians act now!

From: Getting the Voice Out / Deportatieverzet:

CALL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH HUNGER AND THIRST STRIKERS IN DETENTION CENTERS IN THE NETHERLANDS

Public indictment against the system of repression we call Fortress Europe

About 60 asylum seekers in detention center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, have been in hunger strike for four days now. 18 of them also stopped drinking since Wednesday 8th of May. They are protesting against the asylum policy that criminalizes refugees: they get thrown out on the streets without money or shelter and they get detained in prisons for up to 18 months. The refugees on hunger strike demand not to be treated as criminals anymore. They clearly statedthey want freedom and protection.

Wave of hunger strikes

Wednesday May 1st, twenty refugees in detention center Schiphol went on hunger strike. While the guards brutally broke down the strike in Schiphol, by putting the hunger strikers in isolation cells, about 80 refugees in detention center Rotterdam started a hunger strike on Monday 6th of May. One day later,fifty women in detention center Brugge (Belgium) also went on hunger strike.
A thirst strike is even more dangerous than a hunger strike: the latter can last for 40 days before people get in a critical situation, whereas a person who does not drink will be dead after one week.

Government arrogance

The Dutch government has shown an unbelievable arrogance in this matter.

At first, they did not respond to the demands of the refugees at all. One parliament member of the ruling party People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy (VVD) even went as far as to say the refugees “were taking the government hostage” by going on hunger strike. Then, as late as Thursday 9th May, they “provided” a worthless “offer”. In return for the end of the hunger strike, the government “offered” to shorten the usual 17 hours a day detainees are locked inside their cell with a few hours.

The hunger and thirst strikers of course rejected this ridiculous proposal and they will continue with their protest.

But things are getting very serious right now. As of Friday the third day without water begins for the refugees who have no other means of getting their voice out than to go on a hunger or thirst strike.

Refugees searching for a better life get thrown into a Kafkaesk bureaucracy of having to provide proof that doesn’t exist in order to get their permit to stay. Once rejected, undocumented refugees get thrown out on the streets and get denied basic human rights, such as food, shelter, work and health care. Racist police hunt them down and jail them. In detention, refugees are stripped from their dignity, their autonomy, their lives and their future. Once deported, no one ever hears from them again.

Right now, refugees in detention center Rotterdam are directly and unmistakeably demanding their rights and their freedom.
The government will have to respond very quickly and adequately, if they don’t want to be held responsible for dozens of deaths.

Call for solidarity

We are strongly calling for solidarity from our friends throughout Europe. Solidarity with the hunger and thirst strikers in special; and with refugees in general. The state is aimed at excluding everyone who is not directly exploitable by capital. Make it known how this insane migration policy of repression destroys the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Show your solidarity by spreading this message.

Print this letter and post it everywhere, preferably to walls that symbolize exclusion by Fortress Europe: parliament buildings, embassies, deportation offices, immigration offices, etc. Letter removed? Glue it again. Everywhere.

TOGETHER WE CAN FIGHT FORTRESS EUROPE!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Visitation Guide published by CIVIC to enable awareness for visiting people in immigrant detention facilities

We received this from an active group called CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement), which is the national immigration detention visitation network in the USA.

Visitation, visiting people inside immigrant detention centers, enhances their psychological wellbeing as well as their human need for companionship from outside, and it is also necessary to prevent human righs abuses from taking place or from being easily inflicted.

When people from the outside visit, those inside feel a little safer, knowing that those on the outside know their situation. And they get a break from being forced to be locked up for an uncertain amount of time. Visiting is very important, powerful, and very much needed. Here is what CIVIC wrote:


Everyday immigrants disappear and are detained by the U.S. government.

For example, Ana is a human trafficking victim who was detained for over a year, locked in solitary confinement, and forced by a guard to sleep on the cement floor of her cell until Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) ended this isolation and abuse.

Over 32,000 immigrants like Ana remain isolated in these remote detention facilities today because no
law protects a right to visitation, phone calls can cost up to $5.00 per minute, and 46% of detained migrants are transferred at least twice--often out of state and away from their families.

CIVIC is changing this reality by building and strengthening community visitation programs that are dedicated to ending the isolation and abuse of men and women in immigration detention. Visitation programs connect persons in civil immigration detention with community members. These volunteer visitors provide immigrants in detention with a link to the outside world, while also preventing human rights abuses by creating a community presence in otherwise invisible detention facilities.

CIVIC recently released A Guide to Touring U.S. Immigration Detention Facilities & Building Alliances, designed for communities across the country hoping to start a visitation program using ICE’s new Visitation Directive.

The benefit of this resource is that the general guidelines are tailored to the unique request of using the Visitation Directive as a tool to establish contact and set up a permanent visitation program. In addition, this manual provides an overview of some of the successes and roadblocks visitation programs have encountered in the first year of the Visitation Directive's existence.

CIVIC is setting in motion a national movement to combat the isolating experience of immigration detention. To get involved or for more information, please visit their website at www.endisolation.org.

Also please visit this blog with a lot of information about immigration detention, made to make people aware of immigrant detention and visiting people inside these prisons: Detentiondialogues.blogspot.com

The Visitation Manual/Directive can be found here (PDF).

Here is a YouTube about CIVIC and visiting:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Detention Centre opened in Amsterdam: Schiphol-West: join the Demonstration against this!

On January 13th there will be a demonstration at the latest detention centre where peopel without papers are  imprisoned. In The Netherlands, the authorities choose to call such detention centres "border-hospices". Those who are opposed to locking up fellow human beings because of them having crossed 'borders' without the 'right' papers are calling to "Let your guests go free!":

Website for this demonstration:

http://laatuwgastenvrij.nl/
Find them on Twitter

The demonstration is organized by the Amsterdam Catholic Worker, Time To Turn, and is supported by Amnesty International.

Flyer text:

ZONDAG 13-01-13:
LAAT UW GASTEN VRIJ!

Deze winter wordt het nieuwe Justitieel Complex Schiphol in gebruik genomen. Er
bevinden zich binnen de metershoge muren ook afdelingen met tweepersoonscellen voor
honderden mensen die niet in Nederland mogen (ver)blijven omdat ze niet over voldoende
papieren beschikken én voor mensen die oorlog, vervolging of armoede zijn ontvlucht en
in Nederland asiel aanvragen.

Maar God gebiedt ons bij monde van Mozes juist om de vreemdeling lief te hebben. Daarom roepen de Catholic Worker Amsterdam, Time to Turn en kerken uit de Haarlemmermeer op om dit gebouw symbolisch ‘om te smeden’ tot een gastvrije herberg. Amnesty International steunt deze aktie.

Programma:
13.15 u.  - Verzamelen in de de Pelgrimskerk, Havikstraat 5, Badhoevedorp.
13.30 u.  - Morrend Volk zingt en er is koffie en thee.
14.00 u. - Start van de MARS VOOR GASTVRIJHEID (3 km) naar het nieuwe gevang.
15.00 u. – Aankomst bij het Justitieel Complex Schiphol, Duizendbladweg 100,
Badhoevedorp. Toespraken door diverse sprekers, onder andere oud
burgemeester van Amsterdam, Ed van Thijn.
15.45 u. – Ronde om het gebouw heen lopen om te wuiven en de gevangenen een hart
onder de riem te steken.
16.15 u. - Heropening tot gastvrije herberg: Uitrollen rode loper, overhandigen van
verzoek aan de directie met bloemen, woordenboeken en spelletjes voor de
gasten en een sleutelbord vol sleutels – sleutels naar een gastvrije toekomst.
16:45 u. - warme chocomelk
17.00 u. - einde & vertrek bus

Geweldloosheid in woord en daad: Als je aan dit getuigenis voor een gastVRIJere
wereld mee wil doen, dan verzoeken we je om dat te doen in de geest van Jezus, Gandhi
en Martin Luther King, door geen verbaal of fysiek geweld tegen politie, marechaussee of
bewakers te gebruiken, niets te beschadigen en de aanwijzingen van de organisatoren op
te volgen.

Transport en catering: Voor wie niet zo goed ter been is, rijdt er een bus heen en terug
vanaf de Pelgrimskerk. ‘Rampenplan’ zal ons van warme koffie en thee voorzien.
Breng in goede staat verkerende spelletjes en (woorden)boeken mee voor de gevangenen
en sleutels voor in het sleutelbord, sleutels naar een gastvrije toekomst!.
Voor meer informatie: WWW.SCHIPHOLWAKES.NL of bel 06 - 3029 5461.
                     

European borders: controls, detention and deportations

European borders: controls, detention and deportations
Migreurop, « European borders : controls, detention, deportations », 2009-2010 report (PDF)

Welcome - by John Fromer