Samantha Linfield discusses the programme’s third session on indefinite detention.
We began this month by re-capping on last month’s session on modern day slavery. Mia took us back through the main points made and the role which faith groups can play in human rights issues.
Jerome Phelps, the Director of Detention Action, was our guest speaker for this session. He took us through the issue and timeline of indefinite detention for immigrants in the UK. His organisation largely lobbies the government and provides realistic solutions concerning the huge challenges with indefinite detention, both legislatively and practically, offering meaningful insight along the way.
Detention Action has three main functions and goals:
- Working in two detention centres currently offering support to detainees
- Providing casework assistance for individuals who often have no legal aid available to them or who find their case gets lost in the Home Office, resulting in the prolongation of their detention unnecessarily
- Campaigning and Policy work with the government, primarily the home office. Advocating for the rights of these detainees and a change in the law surrounding the existence of these centres
The session was conducted as more of a roundtable than a presentation, which allowed for a thoughtful flow of conversation and left little room for gaps in knowledge.
We learned about how multiple NGOs have collaborated to push the political agenda to deal with the inhumane treatment that takes place at Immigration Removal Centres across the UK. This first reached the political agenda in 2010 when the Conservative Party had (after many years) finally outlawed detaining children in 2014.
Solutions suggested by Jerome include:
- changing the legislature to have a 28-day limit on detention
- using community based initiatives as a preventative
- having individual caseworkers for every detainee