The idea for The Detention Forum came from the Detention Sub-Group of the Asylum Rights Campaign in July 2009. The Forum was initially used as space for many different organisations to come together, discuss how best to question the government policy of immigration detention and explore a possibility of working together effectively. Increasingly, the Forum’s focus has shifted towards planning and implementing joint actions and lobbying activities that aim to influence the government policy of detention.
Its voluntary Co-ordination Group, whose members sit on the group as individuals and have agreed to work collaboratively, is responsible for overseeing its development and delivery. In August 2010, the Co-ordination Group agreed on the statement which set out how they intend to work together and what they want to achieve during its initial stage of development. Having reviewed this developmental stage, the Co-ordination Group finalised its two-year plan in May 2011. You can read Co-ordination Group’s statement here: the statement was given by Liz Peretz at the Detention Forum quarterly meeting on 27 May 2011.
The Detention Forum is currently not a membership organisation but expects participating organisations to respect each other’s difference and expertise. Over the last two years, the Co-ordination Group has been able to identify a group of organisations who have clearly expressed their wish and committment to work together in a mutually supportive manner. The current focus is, therefore, how to take this forward in a more structured and impact-orientated manner to question the immigration detention policy, particularly in the sphere of the Parliament.
The Detention Forum is open to all organisations who want to question the legitimacy of immigration detention and want to work together with other organisations. There is no membership requirement or joining process. The Detention Forum co-ordinates joint actions and lobbying on an opt-in, opt-out basis, while each individual organisation is free to carry out its own advocacy and campaigning activities.
The Detention Forum is hosted by Asylum Aid. Its part-time Co-ordinator is Eiri Ohtani, who can be contacted at detentionforum(at)gmail.com or on 020 7354 9631 (ext 214).
The current Co-ordination Group members are Maurice Wren, Liz Peretz, Vebi Kosumi, Nic Eadie, Jerome Phelps, Ali McGinley, Victor Fiorini, Gemma Lousely, Kate Blagojevic and Eiri Ohtani.
The Detention Forum Co-ordination Group would like to thank the LankellyChase Foundation, the Bromley Trust and the Norda Trust for their financial support. These grants cover a part of the Detention Forum running costs, particularly towards the costs of having a part-time, freelance, Co-ordinator who will assist the Co-ordination Group. Much of the work is, however, carried out on a pro bono basis and we are continuing to fundraise.