Helping detainees in need of medical assistance

Tragic death of detainee in detention

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

This death is a tragedy and is acutely felt by detainees left behind, locked in immigration removal centres.  

We have clients, including vulnerable torture and trafficking survivors, who have witnessed self-harm by fellow detainees and become immensley distressed by the experience.  After a death in detention, some of our clients call us, frightened, in severe distress and inconsolable. 

Medical Justice sends volunteer doctors to visit immigration detainees to document scars of torture and challenge instances of medical mistreatment. The continued detention of a number of our clients has been found by the High Court to have amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. Inquests have found neglect contributing to other deaths in immigration detention.

Indefinite detention, coupled with inadequate healthcare can exacerbate detainees’ existing medical condition and be the cause of mental illness.  The Home Office is well aware of the issues – our report “Death in Immigration Detention” documents that year after year investigations into deaths in immigration detention reveal ongoing systemic healthcare failings. 

Each death occurring in immigration detention is avoidable as immigration detention is optional.  The majority of detainees are released back into the community, making this damaging practice all the more senseless. 

The ever-rising death toll and suffering is the human consequence of the UK’s dehumanising and unjust detention system. We agree with the British Medical Association’s call to phase out immigration detention otherwise the deaths and harm will continue.

Read more: The Guardian