Helping detainees in need of medical assistance

26th March 2020: Joint Letter to Home Office Regarding COVID-19 Response

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Medical Justice, BID and ILPA have written today to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office to express concern about the Home Office’s response to COVID-19 in relation to immigration detainees, including ;

* Our understanding is that all visits to IRCs and prisons have been stopped.

* Considerable difficulties contacting detainees due to poor mobile reception and reports of some detainees being locked into rooms.

* Restriction of access to emails, faxes and the internet to contact their legal representatives, file legal applications or make submissions in their case.

* Changes in the regime may also breach the following aspects of the Detention Centre Rules:
      – Access to a registered medical practitioner (Rule 33(7, 11))
      – Access to family life, visits and other persons (Rules 26 and 28(1).)
      – Access to letters and faxes (Rule 27(1).)
      – Access to legal advice (Rule 30.)

We are concerned that such breaches may render detention unlawful and may not be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as evidenced by outbreaks on cruise ships.

Download the letter here and see the questions we have demanded answers to within 3 working days.