"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."
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 ]
Asylum has been high on the agenda recently as 24 Iraqi refugees went on hunger strike in Campsfield House. This was followed up with a very successful blockade of deportation coaches near Heathrow Airport [ 1 | 2 ] by No Borders.
Anti-military action has also been around recently. First, a group of Oxford-based campaigners managed to force the the British Government to admit that it was still training Bahraini officers, despite the brutality going on in that country as part of the 'Arab Spring.' This was followed by an apparently unconnected act of resistance against the military as the armed forces building in Oxford was daubed with red paint.
Fighting the cuts continued with the return of the Big Society Hospital, the launch of the Save Garsington Buses Campaign, and the continuing refusal of the City Council to listen to the public.
Education was on the agenda as activists told Grayling exactly want they thought of his plans for private universities, whilst locally based NGO - People & Planet published the Green League asking 'how green is your university?'
Climate change concerns raised their head again as the defendants from the Ratcliffe 114 (many from Oxford) launched an appeal against their convictions, and Oxford-based Campbell Road Productions announced their new film investigating the Tar Sands.
In other news, the summer also saw the fourth happening of the Oxford Radical Forum.
Don't forget to keep posting your news here on Oxford Indymedia.Read more >>
Welcome to the latest round up of grassroots news from Oxford. It's proven to be another busy month for activists and campaigners in Oxford. Local, national, and international attention has focused on our little city somewhere between London and the Midlands.Read more >>
Clearly opposition to the cuts has been at the forefront of many people's thinking during November. This opposition is welcome, and much needed, but let us not forget all the other struggles and positive alternatives that are going on. Here is a round-up of non-cuts news in Oxford during November - peace, migration, zines, water, and food.
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.First detainee statement | Second statement | Reports of loud chanting | Friday demo + other updates ]
Around 10:30pm on Saturday, August 4th, a riot broke out in Campsfield House, Oxfordshire, leading to 26 migrants escaping the immigration prison. 15 have since been recaptured, while the rest are still on the run. It followed a yard protest on Tuesday night against the appalling conditions inside the detention centre, which is run by American company GEO, and the discriminatory decisions of Newport immigration court, which is used for bail hearings and appeals involving Campsfield detainees. A hunger strike was started on Wednesday but was put on hold pending a meeting with Home Office representatives on Friday. A further yard protest on Friday night was held as the meeting failed to meet the prisoners' demands. Three solidarity demos were held on Tuesday midday at Campsfield House, Lindholme (Doncaster) and the Communication House (London) [reports: 1 | 2 | 3 ].
Last week, a revolt in a detention centre in Bari, Italy, led to at least 35 migrants escaping. Three weeks ago, 69 Tamil detainees in 5 detention centres, including Campsfield, went on hunger strike against a Home Office decision to deport them back to Sri Lanka [appeal]. Many are still on hunger strike while two Sri Lankan detainees in Harmondswoth, near Heathrow, have been on hunger strike for almost a month (see also Immigration detention: Unworkable).Read more >>
Early in the morning of 14 March, an Algerian detainee held in Campsfield immigration prison in Oxfordshire forcefully resisted an attempted 'removal' by the immigration authorities. Fellow detainees then tried to intervene in solidarity and a riot soon spread in the detention centre, with facilities smashed and set on fire. 2 detainees and 7 staff were taken into hospital, all suffering smoke inhalation [see reports and updates]. In addition to emergency services, Tornado units (riot squads) from the Prison Service were deployed to deal with the 'disturbances'. According to a written ministerial statement by Immigration minister Liam Byrne, 60 of the detainees at Campsfield House have been transferred to other parts of the Home Office detention estate, but other detainees have remained at the centre, which holds up to 200 detainees and was operating at near full capacity at the time of the riot.Read more >>
Public sector cuts
estrecho / madiaq
san francisco bay area
santa cruz, ca
process & imc docs