- Illegal pandemic parties
- Costly kitchen corruption
- Unfounded allegations against the opposition
- Rampant resignations
- Outlandish immigration ideas
To distract from their lawbreaking and failures, PM Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have ramped up their attacks on children and adults seeking asylum and are redoubling their commitment to the cruelest of policies.
This is urgent. On Thursday the 14th of April, Boris Johnson announced that his Government has signed a contract with Rwanda to build offshore detention camps there, where he will lock up people seeking asylum.
Their Anti-Refugee Bill (also called the Nationality & Borders Bill) is now coming back to the House of Commons for MPs to vote. It would give this Government the power to send children and adults seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda and other countries, without considering their claim for refugee protection.
As recently as last year people fleeing persecution in Rwanda were given asylum in the UK. How can Priti Patel claim she will only hold offshore detention centres in 'safe countries', then send them to a country that refugees are fleeing from?
We have spent months building a powerful rebellion against these plans, securing support from MPs and Lords across all parties and generating media coverage of this urgent issue.
We have only a couple of months and a few more opportunities to get these plans cut out of the Government's Anti-Refugee Bill. Please donate today to help us fight offshore detention for as long as it takes.
Thousands of men, women and children seeking asylum will be flown from the UK to Rwanda, where it's likely they'll be locked up in a detention camp, indefinitely, while they wait for their claim to be assessed. These camps would be hidden from public view and almost impossible to access for journalists and human rights monitors.
The Rwandan Government persecutes those who criticise it, once flown to Rwanda, it is likely that children and adults would be locked behind fences, hidden from the press and public, where they could be detained for years on end and forced to endure cruel, humiliating conditions and abuse.
Rwandan police have shot people seeking refugee protection, who were protesting against poor conditions in the camps there. In Rwandan detention centres people - including women and children - have been locked in filthy, crowded cells, and beaten by guards.
This system has only been used once before, by the Australian Government, and it was a tragic failure, in every way. The Australian Government sent 3,127 men, women and children to detention camps on the tiny, impoverished Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
Australia's Offshore Detention caused:
- More than a dozen deaths, including the murder by guards of 24-year-old Reza Berati
- Numerous cases of violence, sexual assault and suicide
- 42 children were born into detention and spent their early years there
- Hundreds of cases of child abuse, including sexual assault
- Up to eight years of misery for those locked away
74% of those people, after years held in abusive conditions, were found to be refugees. 40% eventually had to be allowed to live in Australia. Another third were transferred to the USA.
And the whole, failed experiment cost £8.6 billion; more than £1 billion per year.
Ellie Shakiba, an Iranian woman who spent six years detained by Australia on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, shared her experience with us:
“We often went without clean water and electricity for days at a time. We lived in plastic tents surrounded by toxic black mould. Most of the island’s buildings had crumbling asbestos materials and toxic smoke from a nearby garbage dump that was periodically lit on fire.
“Despite all of these health hazards and poisons, we were routinely denied medical treatment until our conditions worsened and several people died from lack of treatment. Even worse that all this harm was inflicted on small children and pregnant women as well.”
At Detention Action, we're leading the campaign to stop this Government from gaining this power.
This week, with our guidance and support, the House of Lords have overwhelmingly opposed Offshore Detention. We need to make sure they vote against it and refuse to back down to pressure from Priti Patel. Then, when it returns to Parliament, we need to do gain support from as many rebel MPs as we can to oppose this cruelty.
We're a small organisation with only a dozen or so staff. Your donations will help us:
- Meet with MPs and Peers and hold events to build the rebellion against this Government's plans.
- Work alongside people in Australia and the USA who survived Australia's detention camps and help them to be heard.
- Raise awareness of this threat in the media and online, and put forward alternative policies that can actually protect people seeking asylum.
Thank you. Your support means so much to us.
Detention Action was formed in 1993 as a group of volunteers providing support and advice to people in immigration detention. Now, we are a small charity with around a dozen full-time staff. Through our team of 60 volunteer caseworkers, we support people in detention and we campaign for improvements to the treatment of people seeking asylum or facing unjust deportation.
We brought successful legal challenges to end the "detained fast track" system, which was denying justice to thousands of people in immigration detention and risked returning them to torture or death.
In the last three years, our campaigns and legal action to prevent unjust deportations have kept dozens of people in the UK, at home with their families and seen children freed from detention centres.
We campaign alongside our sister organisation, Allies for Justice, a group of committed experts and activists with lived experience of the UK migration detention system.
Our Director, Bella Sankey, studied Law before working for human rights NGOs Liberty and Reprieve. Passionate and knowledgeable about migration issues and policy, she appears regularly on national news and current affairs programmes.
Our Campaigns Manager, Graeme McGregor, has 15 years experience campaigning on human rights issues, as well as mental health and homelessness. From 2013-2016, he ran the refugee rights campaign at Amnesty International Australia. He was part of a research team that produced the first independent, public report on conditions and human rights abuses at the Manus Island Detention Centre.