Campsfield hunger strikers' statement, 9 September 2001


"Firstly, we appreciate the tremendous support we have received from NGOs and the media. Our hunger strike is just a cry for help from within the inhumane and undemocratic detention system.

We hope that the following recommendations would be pursued:

1. Limit detention to three months: after which those with close family link would be granted bail or temporary admission for a reasonable recognisance. Whilst those with close family ties should also be offered the same liberty under Article 5 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

2. The UK must interpret basic human rights under international law rules governing treaties as the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] is itself an international treaty.

3. We would hope the UK can have a more liberal approach on open border and processing centres rather than detention centre. We have also decided to embark on this protest in relation to the recent decision by Judge Collins on 7th September 2001.

4. The other issue involves the mental strain of the indefinite period of detention. Change the [name] detention centre to a "mental asylum". As in the case of a Polish Yanuz Dmitri attempting suicide by swallowing razor blades on 6 September and Arden Gini (Kosovar) jumping off the roof top on 8 September. These are all the symptoms of mental stress.

End of statement"

NOTES:
§ [handwritten by a hunger striker, and typed up unchanged and distributed by the Campaign to Close Campsfield.
§ [Today, 9th September, is the second day of a hunger strike by most of the 93 detainees currently held in Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre near Oxford.
§ Arden Gini is in hospital (the John Radcliffe, Oxford, recovering from injuries to his shoulder, ribs and leg. Yanuz Dmitri is also receiving treatment.
§ The finding by Judge Collins in the High Court on Friday was that 4 former detainees of Oakington detention centre near Cambridge had been held illegally because a) there was no evidence they would abscond and b) they were not awaiting imminent deportation as they had just applied for asylum on entry.
§ Attached please find a media statement from the Campaign to Close Campsfield concerning the start of the hunger strike yesterday.

M E D I A R E L E A S E - 8.9.01

"CAMPSFIELD DETAINEES START HUNGER STRIKE

THE LATEST HUNGER STRIKE BY DETAINEES STARTED TODAY, SATURDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER AT CAMPSFIELD HOUSE DETENTION CENTRE NEAR OXFORD.

MOST OF THE 93 DETAINEES, WHO ARE DEMANDING AN END TO THEIR DETENTION, ARE REFUSING FOOD AS OF BREAKFAST SATURDAY

THIS FOLLOWS JUDGE COLLINS' RULING ABOUT OAKINGTON IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTRE.

THE HISTORIC DECISION FOLLOWS YEARS OF HUNGER STRIKES, PROTESTS, AND PETITIONS BY DETAINEES AND CAMPAIGNING BY THIR SUPPORTERS DEMANDING AN END TO IMMIGRATION DETENTION IN THE UK.

The Campaign to Close Campsfield welcomes Judge Collins' ruling that locking people up 4 asylum seekers who had committed no crime, was illegal since there was no clear indication that they would abscond, nor was their deportation from the UK imminent.

What is true of detainees in Oakington in this test case is also true of the 1,800-plus immigration detainees locked up at any one time in prisons and detention centres (like Campsfield) all over Britain. There is no more evidence that these detainees will abscond than there was in the cases of the four former Oakington detainees.

Furthermore, most immigration detainees - contrary to disinformation put out by the Home Office - are detained when they apply for asylum, usually on arrival in the country: they are not at the end of the process of seeking asylum, awaiting imminent deportation. (They are not in receipt of an active deportation order).

We call on the courts to resist political pressure to overturn this ruling, and to uphold Judge Collins decision at he Court of Appeal hearing on October 5th. We welcome the Liberal Democrat Party statement that immigration detention should end, and that no one should be locked up unless they are criminals, tried in a court of law.

We would also call on lawyers in the UK, in the name of humanity and human rights, to take up the challenge this ruling represents, and apply it to all their asylum cases until - at the very least - not just Oakington, but all immigration detention centres are opened up, and the keys thrown away.

FREE THE CAMPSFIELD 98. FREE ALL IMMIGRATION DETAINEES!"

Campaign to Close Campsfield
c/o 111 Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RQ
tel/fax 01865 558145; tel. 01865 726804
www.closecampsfield.org.uk


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