Helping detainees in need of medical assistance

Medical Justice: Working for Health Rights for Detainees.

Medical Justice offers essential medical help to the most powerless in society. About 30,000 people a year are held in indeterminate immigration detention in the UK. Many detainees have suffered torture or ill treatment, have significant and chronic health problems, and a few may be pregnant, or have been detained for prolonged periods of time without any prospect of release or removal. Being detained indefinitely itself causes serious health problems. Many independent reports and legal judgements provide evidence of the inadequate healthcare provided in detention centres, especially for those with mental health problems.

Clinicians volunteering for Medical Justice document detainees’ scars of torture to assist in their asylum claims and challenge medical mistreatment of those held in detention. These cases provide the evidence for research, publications and campaigns for lasting improvements for detainees.

Medical Justice is a tiny organisation, but we are effective thanks to the courage and generosity of our volunteers, clinicians, interpreters and ex-detainees – and thanks to partnerships with colleagues in other organisations in this field.

What We Do

Events and Training


Diane Abbott MP and the BMA at Medical Justice on Thursday, 19 July 2018.
“How to end Immigration Detention” 
Medical Justice AGM
6 pm Thursday 19th July 2018
Amnesty International Human Rights Action Center, 25 New Inn Yard, EC28 3EA

Speakers ;
Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary
Dr John Chisholm CBE, Chair - Medical Ethics Committee, British Medical Association
An ex-detainee

Followed by
* Discussion
* Food and drinks

Those working with detainees know that serious harm and abuse has long featured in immigration detention.  Now and again evidence of abuse attracts some attention – a judgment finding “inhuman and degrading treatment” of a detainee, the lawful killing of a deportee, an undercover film of detainees being abused. However, the public concern has proven limited and short-lived.

Most recently, the “Windrush” scandal seems to have precipitated somewhat wider outrage, highlighting how the system has “lost sight of individuals” and become “too concerned with policy”, raising awareness of the Home Office’s ability to be cruel and its actions at times to be deliberately harmful.

How can we make the recent modicum of public outrage lead to the end of detention ?

The speakers : Diane Abbott MP announced new Labour policies, including putting a time limit on immigration detention, barring private companies from running immigration removal centres, and closing some of them as it is "the right thing to do". The British Medical Association finds that immigration detainees are “vilified and ignored in equal measure”, that a ‘fundamental rethink’ is needed and that immigration detention should be phased out. Detainees have been bravely speaking out for decades about the abuse they suffer.

The discussion : Many of the people most experienced on immigration detention in the UK will be attending, bringing together differing views on how to reform and to end detention.  All welcome to join the discussion, share ideas, influence, learn.

Please book a place by emailing



"I cannot imagine a life in detention. There was no hope. Nobody listened to me. I didn't have a voice. I was in such a deep hole. To see someone come to you when you are locked up...Somebody came out of the blue. They reached out to me when I least expected it. When the doctor came to see me that day, it was a turning point in my life."

(Ms AK, ex-detainee)