Campaigners demand closure of Dungavel

Campaigners are calling for the closure of a migrant detention centre, after a man died there last Tuesday. A government spokesman said: “We can confirm that a male Chinese national who was detained at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre was found dead on 19 September. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this very sad time. As is the case with any death in detention, the police have been informed and a full independent investigation will be conducted by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.”

In response to the news, Robina Qureshi, Director of refugee and migrant homelessness charity, Positive Action in Housing, said:

“The fact that we know nothing more than that a Chinese man died is typical media crisis management on the part of the Home Office. We get to know very little about what goes on inside Dungavel or most detention prisons. It is worse than a prison. In a prison, you know what crime you committed and when you are getting out. What worse psychological terror can there be than to be locked up indefinitely despite having committed no crime? If there is a language difference the sense of loneliness, hopelessness’ and isolation is magnified a thousand times. Dungavel has contributed to the suicides of several asylum seekers. In fact, all the suicides that have taken place in detention have been of innocent people claiming refuge in this country. They were never criminals.

“We have no reason to believe that this situation is any different. And corporate multinationals profit in the millions from people being held there indefinitely. Dungavel and the whole concept of it is a human rights violation. Its about time this human rights violation was shut down. We believe politicians and the media should be seeking a few answers to the following questions:

1. What is the man’s name? Does he have family in the UK?

2. Why was he held in detention? Did he have legal representation or any support network helping him?

3. How long was he held in the UK detention estate, including Dungavel?

4. What is to happen to his body? Will his body be repatriated to his loved ones in china?”

Vigils have been held outside the Home Office Glasgow with banners to commemorate the man’s death and calling for Dungavel to close.

Martin Field, a member of the campaign group We Will Rise said: “ We needs answers from the Home Office, why did the man die? Why are detention centres still open despite the constant abuse, deaths and inhumane conditions that are run by profit driven companies?”

Joyce Brook from We Will Rise said: “This is such a sad result of the unjust and racist policy of detention. We are protesting to say there should be no detention centres in Scotland or the rest of the UK. How many deaths will it take?”

Many failings have been reported about the practices within Dungavel and UK Detention Centres. From the lengthy periods of time people have been held to the lack of transparency or proper investigation of deaths inside detention. Medical Justice reported these findings last year.

“Since 2005 Medical Justice has been alerting the Home Office, and now more recently NHS England, about the systemic failures in immigration detention and warned that these will lead to further deaths unless they are addressed. We take no pride in being vindicated. This failure to learn from past mistakes is shameful, and deadly.”

Read more about Positive Action in Housing here:

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