As Liberal Democrats we have been championing the cause of ending indefinite detention for immigration purposes for some years now. We have strongly supported every move for the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry into Immigration Detention, and the Government commissioned Shaw Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons.
Two years ago the APPG said that “the UK detains too many people for far too long” and urged government to radically reform the detention system, starting with introducing a 28 day time limit.
18 months ago the Government was urged by the Shaw Report to act “boldly and without delay”. Statistics just released show that there has been no change in the trend of long-term detention. Thanks to Detention Forum for these graphs showing this so clearly.
Length of detention
Indefinite detention is having a terrible effect on health, and even worse effects on mental health of detainees. £76 million a year is wasted on long term detention of migrants who are ultimately released. Lives and money are being wasted.
You can read more in this excellent blog by Detention Forum here . There is also a good article in The Guardian by Paul Blomfield MP.
But you need to do more than read about it. Share it, put on social media, tweet it with #Time4aTimeLimit, contact the media and your MP about it.
Shaw Review II begins on September 4th and it is important that they know that there is a demand for not just tweaking the system around the edges, but a determined push for a drastic reduction on the use of immigration detention, AND it really is time for a time limit on detention.
people entering and in detention
Reasons for leaving detention
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Do have a look at our latest newsletter for news, campaigns and feedback on issues around asylum and refugees from a Lib Dem perspective. Also the latest on Lib Dem September conference.
LD4SOS have submitted this policy motion, of learning to communicate in English, in the hopes that it will be able to be discussed at our September Conference. Learning to communicate in English final words
(UPDATE – we are pleased to say that it has been accepted for debate at our conference)
Baroness Sally Hamwee said in a House of Lords debate :
Our regard for people is reflected in our language. I shall say a word about language and Refugee Action’s campaign Let Refugees Learn, a campaign to improve language provision to refugees. Being able to understand and make oneself understood is fundamental to integration. A young woman from the DRC has said:
“One thing I’ve realised, when you can’t talk to people, it’s really very hard. They smile but can’t talk to you and you can’t talk to them”.
There are English language classes with waiting lists of two years and close to 1,000 people, reductions in learning hours and the doubling of class sizes. Teaching English should be regarded as an investment in the often highly skilled and highly motivated people who seek asylum here. Words are our tools, so we should understand the need.