Yesterday we saw the long awaited publication of the Brook House Inquiry Report, and what a damning indictment of the immigration detention system in the UK it is. Its findings are sobering and it makes a clear argument for change, most notably echoing our long standing calls for a 28 day time limit on immigration detention.
Their words in the executive summary are a call for urgent change:
“As this Report will show, the story of Brook House during the relevant period (1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017) has been one of stress and distress. Although this Report is focused on the events that took place at Brook House in the relevant period, the issues raised within it are likely to be of wider application. Immigration detention is a challenging environment to work in, and those challenges should not be underestimated. However, stress and distress should not be accepted as ‘inevitable’ for those who are detained, nor indeed for those who work with detained people. Rather, they are warning signs to which the Home Office, its contractors and monitoring bodies should be continually alert. I have made 33 separate recommendations based on my findings. The vast majority are directed either to the Home Office or to the government more generally. It is clear that more needs to be done at the highest levels of government to ensure that detained people are accorded the dignity and compassion they deserve.”
This is such a powerful report and we congratulate our member, the Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group, for their engagement in this process over the years; their statement on this report is also very important to look at. They say that the Inquiry could not have made the case for an end to indefinite definition more strongly.
This report details the unacceptable practices of immigration detention; it sets out the problem in graphic and compelling detail. The report from the UNHCR late last month on a community based alternative to detention made the case for a different approach which is compassionate, practical and cheaper. These two reports set out clearly both the problem and the solution.
What more evidence does there need to be to end the use of immigration detention in this country? Our members and allies will continue to make the case for change, and build support and momentum for a new compassionate approach.