"Outsourcing Abuse" report - 14/07/08

 “Outsourcing Abuse” by Birnberg Peirce & Partners, Medical Justice and NCADC, published today, describes an alarming number of injuries sustained by asylum deportees at the hand of private “escorts” contracted by the Home Office. It reveals evidence of widespread and seemingly systemic abuse of vulnerable people who have fled their own countries seeking safety and refuge, and that assault claims have largely been brushed off by the Home Office.

“I have just read one of the most shocking reports about our immigration system that I have seen in 20 years as a Member of Parliament. The report “Outsourcing Abuse” catalogues the frightening state-sponsored violence that happens to asylum-seekers when they are being deported. … This report suggests a complete failure [by the Home Office] to investigate many of the allegations … This report is distressing and upsetting for anyone to read. But for Ministers it is a damning verdict on their inability to inject even a shred of humanity into a flailing immigration system.“
Diane Abbott MP

“… together with every right thinking person, those who read it will not want to believe what it contains. … If the Home Office, Ministers and officials alike, is sensible it will pay due attention to the dossier…  They should recognise that our national reputation is not something to be treated lightly or wantonly, and that, if even one of the cases is substantiated, that amounts to something of a preventable national disgrace.”
Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE

“I have seen many serious injuries with long lasting effects ; crushing of nerves at the wrist from forceful pulling on handcuffs, limitation of neck movement by patients whose heads were pushed under aircraft seats, numbness of the face after blows around the cheek and eye. I have also seen a dislocated wrist, giant bruises and swellings the size of my fist. I have seen far worse abuses but do not have the patient's permission to reveal confidential medical information. Our report includes evidence from 18 independent doctors. Some of these findings are worse still.  They include dislocation to the knee requiring a plaster cast and several people rendered unable to walk for extended periods.  Some were denied wheelchairs, pain relief and other essential treatment although in state custody.”
Dr Frank Arnold, independent doctor, Medical Justice

“This report reveals the extent of lawless disregard for basic rules in the application of force, combined with a wholly inadequate system for investigating often extremely serious criminal allegations. As a lawyer with experience of dealing with misconduct allegations against the police and the prison service I have been shocked to discover, the extent of casual racism and inhumanity from officers employed by the Home Office and its subcontracted private companies - think the police as portrayed in 'Life on Mars' - and you have a picture of where the immigration service is now.”
Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce & Partners

“The Home Office uses charter flights and military planes to deport to places like Afghanistan and Iraq, and have even arranged a private jet to deport one suicidal 14-year old girl and her mother. Asylum applications are at a 14-year low, yet the proportional use of detention has increased 7-fold. The government is driven by seemingly arbitrary targets on deportation and plans a near doubling of detention centre capacity. We feel this all may lead to further abuse.  One shudders to think what will happen if they fulfill their announcement to deal with 450,000 unresolved cases within 5 years.  A third of the cases we documented were regarding alleged assaults against women and a significant number were cases of children who witnessed their parent being assaulted.”

“This report is just the “tip of the iceberg” of horrific violence, for which the Home Office is ultimately responsible. Lord Ramsbotham has sent the 48 cases from our dossier that are highlighted in this report to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, for investigation.”
Emma Ginn, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) 

Press Conference - 12.00 noon, Monday 14th July 2008

Venue : Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LS.

Diane Abbott MP, 10 alleged assault victims, doctors who go into detention centres, lawyers, authors of the “Outsourcing Abuse” report and a representative from Liberty, are all available for interview.

Contacts :
Emma Ginn (NCADC) : 07703 189665, Medical Justice : 07904 778365, Juliet Riddell : 07779 790766.

Download the report


"Failed asylum-seekers are abused by private security companies, says report"
By Robert Verkaik and Chris Green, Monday, 14 July 2008 , the Independent