On Human Rights Day this year we will highlight human rights abuses very close to home: Over 30,000 people are detained in immigration detention centre across the UK every year. Detention centres are geographically and physically difficult to access and are therefore little known to the public. People are detained without time limit, often for many months or even years. The closest detention centre to Cambridge is Yarl's Wood, near Bedford.
In February 2015 then Home Secretary, Theresa May, commissioned a report by Stephen Shaw into the welfare of vulnerable people in immigration centres. She stated 'The purpose of this wider-ranging review is to consider the appropriateness, and application, of current policies and practices concerning the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in immigration detention, and those being escorted in the UK.'
His review was published in January this year and is available here. He concluded that for the 30,000 people detained each year “There is too much detention; detention is not a particularly effective means of ensuring that those with no right to remain do in fact leave the UK; and many practices and processes associated with detention are in urgent need of reform.”
Stephen Shaw’s recommendations for improvements include:
- a presumption against detention for victims of rape and other sexual or gender-based violence
- a specific upper age limit
- a clinical assessment of the level and nature of mental health concerns in the immigration detention estate.
- a time limit for detention, starting at 28 days.
At this market stall, we will be collecting signatures to ask Amber Rudd to implement the recommendations in the Shaw report in full and without delay. At approximately 1pm, we will also be reading out personal stories by women who have been detained at Yarl's Wood and hear from someone who has been briefly held at Yarl's Wood herself and now visits detainees through the Yarl's Befrienders. Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, will also join us to give his support for the petition.
Stop Torture/Truth for Giulio Regeni campaign - After story reading at 1 PM, Lewis Herbert, the leader of the City Council, Alex Mayer MEP, along with MP Daniel Zeichner will show support for the Truth for Guilio Regeni campaign. Along with other AI Cambridge city members and Cambridge UCU, they will hold banners and leaflets highlighting the case.