Can you describe immigration detention in three words?

As part of Unlocking Detention 2019, #Unlocked19, we are asking people to take part in ‘In Three Words’ action to unlock the gates of immigration detention centres.

This is an opportunity to describe, in your own words, your personal experience of immigration detention or your thoughts on immigration detention. It might be that immigration detention is something you worry about – can you share how it makes you feel? By sharing, we build our collective understanding of what immigration detention is and also build solidarity.

At its simplest, your three words can be tweeted with a hashtag of #Unlocked19 after 11 November when Unlocking Detention starts. The hashtag allows us to find your tweets on Twitter and share them widely. From our experience, tweets get more exposure and interest if they come with visual material or even with video element. So feel free to be as creative as you can.


Taking action is always about connecting with people. We are pleased to hear that some groups are already planning to do this action when as part of their meetings with people affected by detention, with their volunteers and directly with people who are currently in detention they are visiting. We hope it will be a great discussion opener with people who are currently unfamiliar with immigration detention too.

Writing testimonies and blogs is a powerful way to convey what immigration detention is like: but can be a barrier to participation for people who do not have time, confidence or support to write long text. We hope this will be a simple and accessible way for people to challenge immigration detention and be part of the change.

At the same time, we know that there is a risk that these words can become decontextualised: so if you want to add to your tweets further information about why you are doing this action (for example, which detention centre were you detained and for how long, how long have you lived in the UK, which group you are affiliated with etc), please feel free to do so.

If you have questions, please do contact