Britain’s inherently “racist” and “brutal” immigration system has prompted over 100 Yarl’s Wood detainees to go on hunger strike for the second time in just over two months.
Detainees at one of the UK’s most infamous immigration removal centres are refusing to eat in protest at the “deteriorating conditions” they face locked up in the Bedford facility.
Sandra, who has been detained at Yarl’s Wood for four months, told RT that conditions there are “inhumane.”
“Well, I’ve just been eating here the same food every day of my life. No access to my family. No access to anything. My dad is in the country,” she said.
“I have a home I can go to. My husband is in the country, have two homes I can go to. But the Home Office decided to spend this money on keeping me here, which I don’t think is fair.”
The hunger strikers are calling for an end to indefinite detention. The UK is the only country in the EU to not have a limit on how long immigrants can spend in detention while they await a decision on their status.
“It’s inhumane to keep people here in this environment for a long period of time,” added Sandra.
Karen Doyle, a representative of campaign group Movement for Justice, told RT the women’s strike is a reminder of the “rottenness” of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ policies for immigrants.
“In the next few days a charter flight full of Commonwealth citizens from Nigeria will be rounded up, shackled and sent to Nigeria in a specially chartered flight,” she said. “Every month, the Yarl’s Wood detainees witness tens of their friends being dragged out screaming, sometimes not even allowed to stop and get dressed. It is torture for those being thrown on the plane and for all those forced to watch wondering ‘Will I be next?’”
The hunger strike comes as the government is rocked by the Windrush scandal, which saw thousands of Commonwealth citizens living in Britain being stripped of their rights. The scandal led to Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s resignation and apologies from the prime minister over what has been branded “appalling” treatment of the Caribbean immigrants.
Doyle, however, said the “brutality” of the UK’s immigration policies extends far beyond the Windrush community.
This latest collective action is a cry for freedom in the midst of the Windrush scandal, which has shone a light on the indignities, racism and injustice of the system.
“The Windrush scandal is the perfect opportunity to make fundamental changes that reverse the abuse and racism at the heart of the immigration system,” said Doyle. “A full and easy access to amnesty for all those without papers, reverse the burden of proof so that people are not treated as liars from the outset and end the hostile environment.
“Yarl’s Wood detainees and detainees everywhere will continue to resist, organize and take action.”
If you like this story, share it with a friend!