Kate Osborne MP calls for a public inquiry into historic abuse at Medomsley and an immediate stop to women suffering in detention in the same venue, Derwentside.
Kate Osborne and members of the Women and Equalities Select Committee visited Derwentside Women’s Immigration Removal Centre today.
Following the visit Kate Osborne MP wrote an urgent letter to the Home Office and said:
“The appalling conditions I have seen today are a disgrace. Women who are locked up in Derwentside are being denied human rights, are isolated and unable to access face-to-face legal advice.
“The majority of those being detained here are innocent of any criminal activity and will be detained for unjust and unnecessary administrative purposes. Some of the women have been trafficked, one woman has been detained here for 200 days – isolated from loved ones.
“There are many reports of women that have been held at gun and knifepoint by traffickers, and in some cases, will have had no choice at all over their destination.
“For those women to then be detained in an IRC under prison-like conditions, is absolutely appalling and inhumane.
“Instead, the women should be supported and given a place of sanctuary.
“My visit today has left a number of questions for the home office to answer – none of the women living there should be detained in this way. Some of the women I spoke to have lives in the UK that are on hold, have worked here and have bank accounts here. Some have lived in the UK since 2015 before being put into this prison. It’s shameful.
“Their claims need to be dealt with and processed. Detention should never be part of someone’s asylum or immigration journey – the women need to be supported, not locked up.
“This centre needs to be shut down – it should never have been opened.
“The fact that this is happening at a site well known for historic abuse is frankly disturbing.
“It is vital that the Government commit to a full, independent public inquiry into the historical abuse men faced in this venue decades ago when it was Medomsley Detention Centre. I stand firmly with my constituents who suffered this abuse, in their calls for an inquiry.
“It is a disgrace that decades later women are now imprisoned and enduring abuse at the same venue.
“The Home Office needs to urgently intervene and stop holding the 29 women currently imprisoned in this detention center.”
Notes to editors:
Kate has previously voiced concerns about the opening of the Derwentside IRC. In June last year, ahead of its opening, Osborne pressed the Government to review its plans to reopen it and to ensure that immigration cases are resolved more humanely.
Kate’s previous contributions and questions on the IRC: