Press release : Death at Harmondsworth IRC 7th Sept 2017Friday, September 8th, 2017
Earlier this week, we called on the Home Office to close all immigration removal centres before another detainee dies – another detainee died last night. This death, like all the others, was avoidable as immigration detention is optional.
Clients have been calling us all week, traumatised by having seen what they say was a dead body, and terrified by their treatment and the conditions in immigration detention. Some fear they will die.
The nation saw the Panorama undercover footage on Monday of a guard threatening to kill a detainee whilst throttling him, the contempt in which some guards hold detainees on suicide watch, and how a nurse simply stood by during an assault and insulted the detainee.
This kind of abuse is what many detainees have been subjected to for years. Medical Justice has been documenting it for a decade, and detainees have been reporting it for even longer.
Detainees are scared, with ample reason. They should be released immediately. We call again for the immediate closure of all immigration removal centres before yet another detainee dies.
There seems to have been a recent increase in number of deaths in immigration detention. The death toll since 2000 of those who died in immigration detention or shortly after release now stands at 41. Year after year investigations into deaths in immigration detention reveal ongoing systemic healthcare failings. We fear that as long as these failings continue to go unaddressed there will be more deaths.
Medical Justice sends volunteer doctors to visit immigration detainee to document scars of torture and challenge instances of medical mistreatment. Safeguards aimed at identifying and dealing appropriately with vulnerable immigration detainees have failed on many occasions.
The High Court has found a number of cases of inhuman and degrading treatment and inquests have found neglect contributing to deaths in immigration detention.
8th September 2017