Hundreds sign up for Yarl’s Wood protest calling for an end to detention

Campaigners are getting their placards ready for the Yarl's Wood protest.
Campaigners are getting their placards ready for the Yarl's Wood protest.

Campaigners will flock from across the country to take part in a demonstration calling for an end to detention at Yarl’s Wood.

The protest - being held on June 6 - is expected to be the biggest one yet outside the controversial centre in Clapham.

Women for Refugee Women are organising the rally and among them will be Bedford and Kempston MP Richard Fuller, who is calling for the institution to be shut down completely.

He will be addressing crowds on the day and already 500 people have signed up to be there.

The charity’s campaign calls for an end to the detention of women who seek asylum and say that the Home Office can keep tabs on them within the community. Many families with children are already monitored in this way.

A spokesman for the cause said: “We feel that we really need to see the same reform now for women in the asylum process because most of the women we speak to are already survivors of serious human rights abuses. Detention is really inappropriate for people who have been through these kind of experiences.

“There have been so many reports about what is going on in Yarl’s Wood. We feel that Yarl’s Wood in itself is just a really inappropriate environment.”

A report by the campaign group discovered that some women kept at the detention centre were not given privacy while getting dressed or using the toilet and damning undercover filming by Channel 4 sparked an independent review and the suspension of officers.

Mr Fuller, who has called for Yarl’s Wood to be closed altogether, said: “I think the main thing is we need to be tough on immigration rules but also need to be tough about standing up for British standards of justice.

“I think there should be a time limit on detention - currently people can be detained indefinitely. There should be a 28-day limit, and detention should be just for removal.

“We also need to change the default position in the Home Office for detention as it is expensive and not effective.”

The MP’s views are in line with a cross party review into the use of immigration detention in the UK.

It recommends that women who have been victims or rape and sexual violence should not be detained and pregnant women should never be detained. The protest outside Yarl’s Wood will begin at 12.30pm and other speakers include leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett, leading human rights barrister Helena Kennedy and the director of Liberty Shami Chakraberti.