Call for detention reform – letter to the government 23 June ’10

28 organisations across the UK called for an urgent review the country’s immigration detention system.  The letter sent to Damien Green and Theresa May on 23 June ’10 continues: ‘We believe that a sensible option is a moratorium on the opening of further immigration removal centres until an independent inquiry has fully examined the current use of detention’.   

The letter was co-ordinated by Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group and London Detainee Support Group, who are Steering Group members of the Detention Forum. 

Jerome Phelps, Director of London Detainee Support Group, commented: “An unprecedented range of organisations has come together to call for action to address the dysfunctions of the detention system.  Detention reform is needed now to ensure that immigrants’ civil liberties are not breached unnecessarily.”.  Ali McGinley, Director of the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees, said: “The need for detention reform is clear, and the number of organisations who have shown their support is testimony to this. Many of them visit Immigration Removal Centres every day and have a unique insight into a system which leaves so many detainees in limbo, with no idea when they will be released.”. Nic Eadie, Director of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, added: “The recently released HMIP report on Brook House IRC outlines concerns around detainees being held for long periods with little prospect of imminent removal. It seems therefore that detention is not working in the way that the government intends, with extremely damaging results for those individuals who find themselves trapped in the system.”.

Other signatories and supporters include Asylum Aid, Asylum Welcome, Barbed Wire Britain, Brighton Voices in Exile, The Bromley Trust, Coalition Against Bullingdon Immigration Removal Centre, Campaign to Close Campsfield, Dover Detainee Visitor Group, The Equal Rights Trust, Haslar Visitors Group, Lewes Group in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Churches Refugee Network, Manchester Immigration Detainee Support Team, Migrant & Refugee Communities Forum, Migrant Voice, Migrants Rights Network, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation CampaignsReligious Society of Friends (Quakers)RenéCassin, Scottish Detainee Visitors, Unity Centre Glasgow, United Reformed Church, Yarl’s Wood Befrienders, Yarl’s Wood Asylum Casework Support Group and Zimbabwe Association.

Follow-up collective action is being planned.  If you want to know more about it, or if your organisation wants to show your support to this initiative, please contact Ali McGinley (, Nic Eadie ( or Jerome Phelps (  Alternatively, please contact Eiri Ohtani at for general information about this initiative. 

Last updated on 12 July 2010