Cold shoulder: Hunger strikes spread as UK migrants’ demands unmet LIVE UPDATES


A British police officer stands guard outside Harmondsworth detention centre, in west London (Reuters)

Some 300 detainees at the Harmondsworth immigrant removal center near London have launched a hunger strike to protest the conditions there. There are estimated 30,000 people detained in such facilities while their status is being resolved.

 Monday, March 16
17:50 GMT:

Security has been stepped in Harmondsworth ahead of a deportation flight to Pakistan scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, according to a detainee in the facility.

Chowdery, who uses an alias, told RT detainees had been “locked up” for “a very long time” prior to the departure of the flight. He called on authorities to treat asylum seekers like human beings.

17:43 GMT:

According to Chowdery, a detainee in Harmondsworth immigrant immigration removal center, detainees are calling for the cancellation of a deportation flight to Pakistan scheduled to depart on Tuesday, March 17.

Abbas Haider, another source in Harmondsworth, told RT that 100 asylum seekers are due to be deported on the flight.

15:02 GMT:

Heaven Crawley – Chair in International Migration Center for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University joins RT

11:00 GMT:

According to testimonies RT has received from detention center inmates, protestors have issued a list of demands.

These demands include:

– The implementation of a 28-day detention limit, as recommended by a Parliamentary inquiry earlier this month.

– An end to ‘Detained Fast Track’ (DFT), a system by which the Home Office is able to determine an asylum seeker’s case within two weeks.

– Release of all those currently on DFT.

– The immediate release of detainees who are disabled, elderly, pregnant, mentally unwell, and those who are victims of torture and trafficking.

10:46 GMT:

Protests within immigration removal centers (IRC) have spread across the UK, according to a detainee who chose to be called Chowdery.

He claims demonstrations are taking place in: Harmondsworth (Heathrow airport), Brook House (Gatwick airport), Pennine House (Manchester), Dover, The Verne, Dungavel (South Lanarkshire), Oxford and Morton Hall (Lincolnshire).

Saturday, March 14

14:25 GMT:

Filming in UK immigrant removal centers is banned because otherwise the government would be humiliated by evidence of poor living conditions there. At least that’s what an employee at Harmondsworth center told an investigator from the Corporate Watch group, who snuck a camera into the facility.

“Say you’re in government and you have an illegal immigrant detention center which is this, detention center, yeah. And they (detainees) all have their phones with them, right, and a fight kicks off or, like, there’s bad conditions, which [in] this center there’s bad conditions, right,” an unidentified Harmondsworth staff member said.


Friday, March 13

21:20 GMT:

Immigrants denied entry and set to be returned to their home countries may spend months in detention before they are actually put on a plane, Guy Davison, a barrister specializing in Immigration Law, told RT.

“I think on bail applications where people are just simply waiting for those travel documents to come through and the application is simple, they say: ‘I’ve been in detention for 4, 5, 6, 8 months just waitingfor this to happen. It is getting unreasonable. I should be now out on bail whilst that takes place.’”

17:24 GMT:

The practice of keeping mothers with small children locked in detention centers is“obscene in a modern civilized society,” human rights activist Keith Best, former chief executive of Freedom from Torture, told RT.


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