Here are some of the reactions from the civil society groups in response to the latest HMIP report on Yarls Wood Detention Centre in which the Inspector calls for a time limit on immigration detention.

Aderonke Apata of Manchester Migrant Solidarity

“This HMIP report on yarlswood reechoes the whole raft of concerns of human rights abuses inside yarlswood detention centre which we have been exposing since 2012. It’s no surprise that the report recognises need for time limit and that most vulnerable women aren’t detained. It’s evident that detention ruins lives (detainees, their families and friends). It is comparable to a concentration camp. No reforms can change the long lasting devastating effects it causes on human lives. We strongly call on the government to implement the recommendations of the APPG detention inquiry.”

Sam Grant of René Cassin

“This report highlights once again that the UK’s current practice of locking innocent and vulnerable people up indefinitely – is inhumane. Jewish experience of immigration to this country in the 1940s resulted in the internment of tens of thousands of Jewish men on the Isle of Man. We are sadly repeating what is commonly considered a stain on the UK’s reputation as a safe haven for refugees. As The Chief Inspector notes, tinkering with the system is not the solution, introducing a time limit is the only sensible moral and financial way forward?”

Nic Eadie of Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group

“GDWG welcomes Nick Hardwick’s call to implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of Immigration Detention, including the imposition of a 28-day time limit. His voice echoes the sentiments of many individuals and organisations who understand that detaining migrants indefinitely not only shames our nation, but is also a hugely inefficient way to manage our borders. International evidence demonstrates that alternative, non-detention systems for managing migrants who are awaiting decisions on their cases are not only possible, but offer a more humane system at a fraction of the cost, while at the same time ensuring better rates of compliance amongst those subject to immigration controls. For almost 20 years we have seen first-hand the damage inflicted on people who are locked up for long periods merely for administrative convenience. This cannot continue. It is time for a time limit.”

Nazek Ramadan of Migrant Voice

“Migrant Voice calls on the government to implement the recommendations of the APPG detention inquiry. We strongly believe that immigration detention is expensive, unnecessary and has a devastating long term effects on the detained migrants.  Detaining individuals for immigration purposes has no place in 21st century Britain.”

Tzelem  The Rabbinic Call for Social and Economic Justice in the UK

“The Rabbinic Call for Social and Economic Justice in the UK wish to state in the strongest possible terms their objection against the system of indefinite immigration detention in the UK.  The report by Nick Hardwick, which described Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre as a ‘place of national concern’, highlighted the expensive, cruel and ultimately pointless nature of indefinite detention.   The government must take action on the report’s call for a time limit for the administrative detention of migrants.  As Jews, with a long history of seeking refuge from persecution and crossing borders, we identify with and stand by those detained.  Setting a time limit is the first step on the way to allowing those detained to live their life with some dignity.”

Suzanne Fletcher of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary

“This independent, official report adds to the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group report on the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the UK, as well as calls from the women affected and those speaking up for them.  Too many women have been scarred by a process which serves no purpose and costs money that could be better spent.  There is every reason now for progress on the APPG recommendations to begin as soon as Parliament reconvenes, and put an end to indefinite detention for all in the UK.”

Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism

“It makes no moral, economic or political sense to detain vulnerable woman without a limit on time.  It encourages bureaucratic inertia; it is inordinately expensive; it portrays Britain as uncaring of refugees when our history demonstrates the opposite; but most importantly it fails the ‘decency’ test.  Many detainees have been the victims of violence, abuse and discrimination, and detention without time limit frequently exacerbates existing difficulties.  It is not the purpose of immigration detention to ‘punish or ‘deter’.  It is a matter of justice that vulnerable human beings ought be treated fairly and expeditiously and the current regime of detention without time limit achieves neither.  It is in the interests of nobody for this policy to be retained and I urge the Government to bring it to an end immediately.”

Eiri Ohtani of Detention Forum

‘This is yet another sad report about one of the saddest places in the UK. The financial and human costs of immigration detention are simply too high, and we cannot afford to go on like this. It is time for the government to start engaging with the detention reform agenda proposed by the parliamentary inquiry panel. It should introduce a time limit of detention of 28 days and develop community-based alternatives to detention to reduce both the financial and human costs of detention.’  

Lisa Matthews of Right to Remain

‘The concerns raised in HM Inspecorate’s report on Yarl’s Wood are sadly not surprising. Right to Remain believes that these major failings are endemic to a system that deprives people of their liberty solely for being a migrant, a system that is intended to stop people establishing their legal right to stay and to drive people to despair, in order that they leave the UK. The regular and growing protests outside detention centres, most recently at Yarl’s Wood on 8 August, show that communities will not stand for migrants being locked up solely for the bureaucratic convenience of the state. The government needs to listen to those who have experienced detention first-hand (detained indefinitely, without trial) and to the many people from all walks of life calling for an end to this harmful and unjust practice.’

Ali McGinley of AVID

‘This report is an explicit call for change, and provides a strong evidence base of the harm caused to vulnerable women by indefinite detention. The current safeguards to protect the vulnerable have, once again, been found inadequate, leaving those with a history of rape, abuse or sexual violence at risk of harm. Today’s report echoes the growing call for a time limit on immigration detention, and we hope it encourages the government to take seriously the evidence that detention is harmful. There is no need to detain vulnerable women when their cases can be considered fairly in the community – where they can access the supports they so desperately need.’

Jerome Phelps of Detention Action

‘This is another scathing indictment of the indefinite detention of vulnerable migrants.  Yarl’s Wood is failing vulnerable women, and detention without time limit is simply failing as a policy.  The Inspector has joined the parliamentary inquiry in finding that too many people are being detained unnecessarily for too long.  It is high time for the Government to step away from the routine detention of migrants, and instead to work with them to resolve their immigration cases in the community wherever possible.’

Maurice Wren of Refugee Council

“The fact that people fleeing war and persecution are being locked away indefinitely in a civilised country is an affront to the values of liberty and compassion that we proudly regard as the cornerstones of our democracy. If the Government wants to prove it’s serious about justice and protecting vulnerable people, Ministers must urgently acknowledge that Britain’s policy of arbitrarily placing people behind bars because it’s politically convenient is wholly unjust, extremely expensive and utterly unsustainable. It’s high time Yarl’s Wood and places like it were closed. Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime.”

Will Russell of Bristol Immigration Detention Campaign

“The inspector described a system in which pregnant women and the mentally ill were detained without justification for months on end, where understaffing was leading to unsafe conditions, and where the decline in healthcare standards has meant delays in receiving prescribed medication, dangerous mismanagement of physical health problems, and insufficient support for those with mental health conditions. He found that the procedure for identifying those unsuitable for detention to have provided “wholly inadequate protection for some of the most vulnerable detainees. The detention of human beings in these conditions brings shame on us all. The government may find it politically profitable to blame migrants for all the UK’s woes and talk tough about making the UK as inhospitable an environment as possible for those without a lawful right to reside here, but the fact that it has allowed the already dire situation at detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood to deteriorate further in this way is a moral failure. Sadly it is not a surprising one, but a seemingly inevitable product of a system which permits indefinite administrative detention of those under immigration control. The inspector has now added his voice to the growing consensus on the need for a strict time limit on the use of immigration detention. We welcome this, and call on the government to engage seriously with the reform proposals put forward by the Detention Inquiry, at the forthcoming Parliamentary Debate on 10th September 2015.”