Socialist Worker

Hunger strike at Yarl's Wood detention centre

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2187

Women in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre have been on hunger strike since Friday of last week against their treatment in the centre. The detention centre is used to hold people before they are forcibly removed from Britain.

Many of the women are asylum seekers, fleeing torture and war. Others were working “illegally”.

The situation deteriorated on Monday, when guards told 12 women that immigration officers wanted to speak to them. When they got to the office they were locked in, then separated into individual rooms with no water.

Doris is 44 and from Nigeria. She is being held in Yarl’s Wood despite being granted leave to remain by the courts in November last year.

She spoke to Socialist Worker about the situation in the detention centre, and her own story.

“I’ve been kept here for two and a half months, even though I won my appeal against deportation. I had been in prison for nine months for working illegally.

“My barrister has provided all the documents to the immigration officers, but still they hold me.

“I have been working as a carer since I arrived here in 1997. My son was born here, my cousin and my brother both live here. The fact I had a family encouraged the judge to let me stay. But now I can’t be with them.

“My brother is disabled. He is looking after my son but is really struggling. All the stress and upset has made my son ill.

“They treat us so badly in here, everyone is separated from people they love. They put us here while they’re waiting for a flight date to deport us.

“When people are deported they leave behind their husband, their children, their family.”

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Article information

Mon 8 Feb 2010, 18:48 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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