Call for International Day of Action Against Immigration Prisons on 22 September 2007
All over the world, refugees and migrants are being locked up in special prisons, disguised under various names, for the only 'crime' of fleeing wars or persecution or wanting to improve their lives. Without trial and with no automatic bail review, they can face months and years of incarceration in terrible conditions, before being forcibly deported to unsafe countries. The very idea of 'administrative detention' is a violation of people's basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. There have also been numerous reports of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of 'staff', lack or denial of medical care, obstruction of detainees' trying to handle their legal matters and so on. In the most extreme cases, these desperate conditions have led migrant prisoners to take their own lives.
In many countries, immigration detention has become an integral part of the the immigration system. It is certainly one of the most brutal and dehumanising aspects of this racist system whereby innocent and vulnerable people are interned in prison for political ends. In 25 EU member states alone, there are 174 such prisons, while more have been built in neighbouring countries as part of externalising the borders of Fortress Europe.
In the UK, there are 10 so-called Immigration Reception Centres, with a total capacity of 2,506 places, but the government is aiming for a total of 4,000 places by building new detention centres. Seven of these are run by private companies contracted by the Home Office, while three are run by the Prison Service. In addition, there are many so-called Short-term Holding Facilities at many ports and airports throughout the country as well as at a number of Immigration Reporting Centres.
On the other hand, resistance, both inside and outside these prisons, has been getting stronger and stronger. Hunger strikes, riots and pickets have become a common occurrence. But obviously not enough is being done as thousands of people continue to suffer in their cells.
The UK No Borders network is calling on all concerned individuals and groups all over the world to join us in an international coordinated day of action against immigration prisons everywhere on 22 September 2007. While we realise that resistance is continuous and not confined to 'days of action', we call upon refugees and migrants and their supporters throughout the world to organise their own actions on this day, both inside and outside immigration prisons, in a global united cry: NO TO IMMIGRATION PRISONS; NO TO RACIST BORDER REGIMES!
The Day of Action will be during the first No Border Camp in the UK, to be held between 19 and 24 September near Gatwick Airport (see www.noborders.org.uk). The Camp was prompted by government plans to build a new immigration prison at Gatwick, designed to hold 426 migrant prisoners. Over the last 9 years, the worldwide No Border network has organised many similar camps, including those in Tijuana (Mexico), Genova (Italy), Woomera (Australia), Frankfurt (Germany) and recently Transcarpathia (Ukraine). Each camp often focuses on a specific issue but is ultimately campaigning against borders and for the freedom of movement for all people.
This call also follows many years of global, decentralised, coordinated campaigning, which saw two European Days of Action on 31 January 2004, and 2 April 2005, and an International Day of Migration-Related Actions on 7 October 2006.
Please spread this call as widely as possible. If you want to add your name to the list of signatories, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Borders UK Email: email@example.com Website: www.noborders.org.uk