WinVisible is disabled women seeking asylum, refugee (some fled disability persecution, as well as war and other violence), immigrant and UK-born together. Sending heartfelt support to today’s protest to Shut Manston Down!
We are reminded that disabled former MP David Blunkett, who is blind and now sits in the House of Lords, was responsible for setting immigration policy in the Blair government. As Home Secretary 20 years ago, he was repressive and brought in many of the disgraceful measures oppressing and segregating adults and children seeking asylum, that we suffer today. Currently, Blunkett is being honoured with a sculpture portrait!
Our sisters in Global Women Against Deportations* are taking part in today’s protest at Manston detention centre in Kent, and ask people to share this press release from Action Against Detention and Deportations.
SHUT MANSTON DOWN’: GROUPS DEMAND END TO DETENTION CAMP
Press release Friday 4 November
Hundreds are expected to gather on Sunday 6 November to protest against the ‘humanitarian disaster’ unfolding at Manston detention camp in Kent, where thousands of people, including large numbers of children, are being detained inhumanely and illegally by the British government.
The protest comes only a week after a far-right terrorist attack on a migrant processing centre in Dover, which has been followed by a ramping up of racist and inflammatory rhetoric from Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Tory politicians and councillors, and the media.
The demonstration is called by Action Against Detention and Deportations (AADD) , a coalition of anti-border groups including SOAS Detainee Support, Global Women Against Deportations, Global Justice Now, Stop Deportations and others. AADD are joining those detained in their calls to shut the unsafe and overcrowded camp down, and to demand an immediate end to the cruel detention and threatened deportation of all those detained under the British border regime.
Since AADD’s visit to Manston last Sunday , the conditions there have been widely condemned as further information has leaked out of the highly securitised camp. There is significant overcrowding, with the numbers detained exceeding 4,000 people (in a site designed for 1,600 max) – including large numbers of children. Such an environment has been conducive to the spread of disease (norovirus, MRSA, diphtheria, scabies) and abuse of power by guards and officials. While the Home Office’s purported target is to process people within 48 hours before being moved on, many inside have languished there for over a month. They have been forced to sleep on the floor, stripped of their phones and other belongings, and denied access to the necessary legal and medical support. This is barbaric, and must be stopped.
With reports of asylum seekers released from Manston being left stranded in Central London and in the surrounding area, it is clear that the government is failing in its obligations to those seeking safety and making a political choice to condemn people to cold, hunger, and homelessness.
Manston is only the tip of the iceberg. Across the UK, people are being torn away from their families and communities, locked up behind cages, and deported in the dead of night. Many others face the slow violence of borders, being pushed into destitution and exploitation, exacerbated by collusion between the police, immigration enforcement, and public services and the cost of living crisis.
AADD are calling not merely for better conditions within detention facilities nor time limits for detention, but for an end to detention and deportation, and the abolition of the systems that create and enable this suffering.
The humanitarian disaster at Manston detention camp is the sharp end of a violent and racist border regime that punishes people seeking safety and a better life in the UK. Treating people fleeing war, poverty, persecution and climate breakdown this is barbaric. We’re glad that our exposure of the inhumane conditions there has provoked public rage and solidarity, with increasing numbers now being released. The cries of “freedom” and “we need your help” from detained children have stirred people to action. But we won’t stop until the place is shut down, and immigration detention as a whole is abandoned for good.
*Global Women Against Deportations said:
Credit must go first of all to the children, women and men who, at great risk to themselves, exposed the horrendous conditions at this camp. We know that 70% of women asylum seekers fled rape and other sexual violence so that means that there must be traumatised survivors suffering further abuse in Manston. The overcrowding and inhumane conditions are not an accident, or a blunder, it is a deliberate racist government policy aimed at preventing people from claiming asylum, sowing division and fuelling hatred against people fleeing wars and starvation. But the mounting outcry has revealed a growing movement of people determined to defend the rights of asylum seekers and in doing so defend us all against a cruel government that treats us like our lives don’t matter.
Action Against Detention and Deportations is a coalition of anti-border groups, including SOAS Detainee Support, Global Women Against Deportations, Global Justice Now and others. We stand against deportations and detention as tools of hate, division, and a racist state.
Media Contact Details
Action Against Detention and Deportations
Email: SOAS Detainee Support firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Maggs 07810158502
Benny Hunter 07498305420
Crissie Amiss 07456525227
Griff Ferris 07856849053
 Action Against Detention and Deportations, “Shut down Manston camp, and take the rest of the UK’s violent immigration system with it”, Galdem, 3 November 2022.
*Global Women Against Deportations is based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre and includes the All African Women’s Group (an organisation of women asylum seekers & refugees), Legal Action for Women, Women Against Rape and Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike.