Immigration detention – “expensive, ineffective and unjust”

3 Mar, 2015 | Asylum and Detention, Latest, Stop the hostile environment

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René Cassin welcomes today’s report by The Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of Immigration Detention in the UK. The report damns the current system as “expensive, ineffective and unjust” and calls for fundamental reform.

The cross-party inquiry recommends that:

  • There should be a time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held in immigration detention
  • Detention is currently used disproportionately frequently, resulting in too many instances of detention. The presumption in theory and practice should be in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention
  • Decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time and only to effect removal
  • The Government should learn from international best practice and introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention than are currently used in the UK.

René Cassin has campaigned for a time limit to asylum detention as part of the Detention Forum, a wide coalition of charities, NGOs and faith groups.

We submitted evidence to the inquiry and also helped asylum-seekers affected by detention submit their own evidence.

Welcoming the report’s findings, René Cassin’s Sam Grant, said:

This country is rightly proud of its record of providing a safe haven to refugees from oppression and violence. But its current treatment of large number of asylum-seekers – locking innocent and vulnerable people up indefinitely – is inhumane and blights that reputation.

Jewish experience of immigration to this country is still very raw and recent. How would I have wanted my grandparents to be met off the kindertransport – with further fear, humiliation and uncertainty? But, scandalously, that is exactly what many of today’s migrants to the UK have to face.

In the introduction to the report, the Inquiry’s chair, Sarah Teather MP says:

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.

For the country and for those we detain, we cannot go on as we are.

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