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Kenworthy's Chambers

Emergency Solidarity Vigil for Yarl’s Wood Hunger Strikers and All of Those Held in Detention

by Kenworthy's Chambers 09/03/2018

Kenworthy's Victory

Yesterday evening, Kenworthy's Chambers and Greater Manchester Law Centre were just a few amongst the organisations and individuals supporting at an emergency solidarity vigil, held at St Peter's Square in Manchester on International Women's Day, in support of the Women on hunger strike in Yarls Wood and all currently in detention with no time limit. The initial 3-day hunger strike commenced on the 21st February and demands to the Home Office were posted to The Detained Voices Website - after no response to their efforts, the strikers made a statement extending the Hunger Strike "After an initial 3 day hunger strike where the Home Office refused to acknowledge the hunger strike, it is clear that they are not listening to us. On Monday 26/02/18, we will cease to participate in detention; we will not eat, use their facilities or work for them".

"Indefinite detention of people, whose only "crime" is to seek refuge in this country, must be ended. Kenworthy's Chambers and Greater Manchester Law Centre seek to represent some of the people who are most vulnerable in our society - and we are pleased to support the campaign "These Walls Must Fall" and the Declaration to this effect proposed by our local Councillor Mahadi Sharif and recently approved by Manchester Council." - John Nicholson, Kenworthy's Barrister & Chair of Greater Manchester Law Centre

The Strikers' demands:

1. Shorter bail request periods - Legally it should 3-5 days, however it can take anywhere up to 21 days, or even a month before you get a bail hearing date.

2. Amnesty for those who have lived in the UK 10 years and above

3. End indefinite detention - Detention periods shouldn't be longer than 28 days

4. End Charter flights - Charter flights are inhumane because there are no prior notifications, or only an oral notification with no warning. They give no time to make arrangements with family.

5. No more re-detention - Redention should not be allowed - if you have been detained once, you should not be re-detained if you are complying with the laws they have applied. This is a contradiction, you are being punished for complying with the law; it ruins the whole purpose of expecting compliance

6. End systematic torture - Systematic torture takes place in detention - at any point an officer could turn up and take your room mate; you're constantly on edge, not knowing what will happen next. Those who are suicidal now have their privacy taken away because they are being watched - you don't know if an officer is coming to check on you or coming to take you away. Our rooms are searched at random and without warning; they just search first and explain later

7. Stop separating families - Separating families is inhumane - people in here are married or have British partners and have children outside, and they are denied their right to private life and right to privacy; their Article 8 rights

8. No detention of people who came to the UK as children - Young adults who came to the country as minors should not be detained, deported or punished for their parents' immigration histories

9. The beds need to be changed - Some of us have been here for a year on the same bed; they're the most uncomfortable beds

10. LGBT+ persons' sexuality be believed - It should be understood that explaining your sexuality is difficult

11. Fit emergency alarms in every room in the detention centre - Only some rooms have them, and there have been a lot of cases of people being very ill in places where they can't call for help

12. Give us access to proper healthcare

13. Give us proper food to look after our diets

14. Release people with outstanding applications

15. We want to speak to Alistair Burt MP for the constituency

Kenworthy's Chambers urge YOU to support the Strikers by Signing the Petition here and sharing your support and their efforts using #HUNGERFORFREEDOM.