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28-08-2011 14:51 | 0 comment(s)

UK border regime claims another life

Colnbrook immigration prison - why people kill themselves?

"When they put him in the room they were putting pressure on him saying he had no right to stay in this country. He was normally a very quiet person [...] but the pressure is too much for people in here."
-Campsfield detainee

On 2nd August, a 35 year old Indian man who was hours away from being deported hanged himself in the toilet block of Campsfield House.

Campsfield is not a house, it is a migration prison just outside Oxford where people are held arbitrarily for the "crime" of being foreign, non-white, and poor. Several hunger strikes, protests, suicides and escape attempts have taken place over the years since it first opened in November 1993.

This comes shortly after two detainees died in Colnbrook migration prison, on 2nd and 31st July. The first seems to have died of a heart attack amid reports that staff were very slow to call an ambulance. Not much has been said about the second; it is "being treated as unexplained".

Campaigners in Oxford responded by holding a vigil, while at Colnbrook a solidarity demo was held. These deaths are just the tip of an iceberg of deaths caused by borders (around 15'500 since 1993 across Europe, not counting undocumented deaths), and deaths are themselves only the most extreme part of the massive suffering imposed by this system.

Meanwhile, the Namaste project: a local initiative to match destitute asylum seekers with people willing to house them, is gradually gathering momentum.

[ Campsfield: report | press release | vigil ] [ Colnbrook: report | demo ] [ overview ]
[ Guardian: Campsfield | overview ] [ Close Campsfield Campaign | Oxford No Borders | Namaste update ]
[ List of deaths | Oxford migration articles ]

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08-08-2010 22:35 | 0 comment(s)

Detained migrants on hunger strike

banners on the razorwire fence

Update (28/08/10): most of the detainees stopped the hunger strike on Tues 10th, but around 15 people are still refusing to take meals from the kitchen.

"Today we raise our voices until liberty is ours. [...] We deserve to be heard and until such time, we fight."

Around 150 migrants held at Campsfield migrant prison near Kidlington are on hunger strike "as a result of the treatment of detainees in detention centres especially for people who have been detained for a long period of time".

"Our lives incidentally have been stalled without any hope of living a life, having a family or any future [...] some of us are tortured and even face death or mental distress [...] We are issued removal directions without given enough time for an appeal. [...] On a regular basis, we are tortured, restrained, strapped like animals and beating to effect removal."

Local campaigners have responded by immediately organising several solidarity demos and calling for people to write to their MPs. At least one detainee perceived as a ringleader has been transferred to another detention centre and placed in solitary detention.

The next demo is Monday 9th August, from 7pm, at Campsfield, Langford Lane, Kidlington. Cyclists will meet at St Giles at 6pm to ride there together. There are also regular buses from Oxford.

[ First detainee statement | Second statement | Reports of loud chanting | Friday demo + other updates ]
[ Campaign to Close Campsfield | Oxford No Borders | Barbed Wire Britain ]
[ Previous Campsfield detainee actions: June 2006 hunger strike | March 2007 riot | August 2007 riot and escape ]

Read more >>

30-11-2003 18:41 | 3 comment(s)

Close Campsfield Now!

A demonstration to close the Campsfield Detention Centre took place on Saturday 29th November at noon. The so-called "Campsfield House" is a large complex of buildings located near Kidlington, 6 miles from Oxford. The fences and barbed wire that surround it actually uncover the very nature of the place - a detention centre for people who committed no crime, but are still denied their basic rights.

From 150 to 300 people turned up and demonstrated to close Campsfield now. An Oxford and London based samba band sent its rhythms to give moral support to the detainees, while speakers from very different backgrounds talked to an equally heterogenous crowd. At 2 pm the crowd moved to Oxford, where the demonstration continued in Broad Street, the samba band music attracting a big crowd. Both in Campsfield and Oxford there was a heavy and intimidating police presence, which seemed totally unjustified given the peaceful and colourful nature of the protest.

Meanwhile, three banners mysterisouly appeared snagged high on the perimeter fence the night before, on the 28th. Stating "No One is Illegal", "No Deportations" and "No Detentions", these banners were clearly visible to detainees inside providing much needed morale boost for the asylum seekers.

[Report on the demo and background information on Campsfield] [Report and picture] [Report and pictures of the banners] [Campaign to Close Campsfield]

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