Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network – QARN: response to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention Report released 3 March 2015
‘We detain a lot of people, some for a very long time, all with huge uncertainty, and we have very limited processes for individuals to challenge that detention’.
‘Crucially, this panel believes that little will change by tinkering with the pastoral care or improving the facilities. We believe the problems that beset our immigration detention estate occur quite simply because we detain far too many people unnecessarily and for far too long. The current system is expensive, ineffective and unjust.’
We welcome the findings of this Report as a starting point for change. It is reassuring that people with personal experience of the system were respectfully listened to by the Inquiry team, and that those who were listening openly expressed their dismay.
That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right.: 1822 Quaker faith & practice 23.26
QARN welcomes the firm recommendation that there be a maximum time limit to immigration detention of 28 days, and that there should be judicial oversight of the decision to detain at an early stage, in contrast to the current system where there is no end date for people to be released. We have been advocating this for a long time and many Friends signed supporting letters to their MPs at BYMG last year.
Sarah Teather, MP who chaired the Inquiry is clear that a wholesale change in the culture within the detention system is required, but also that there needs to be a serious investigation of community based alternatives to detention so that far fewer people are deprived of their liberty. We would like to see an end to all immigration detention and this report is an important step along that path.
It will be important to draw it to the attention of those attending election hustings, and to ask for MPs’ support for the report’s recommendations. For more information about what you can do please see: http://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/category/what-can-you-do