‘Close Down Campsfield – 12 years Too Long!’, declared campaigners yesterday.
They were announcing a national demonstration outside the Immigration Removal Centre’s main gates on Saturday 26th November 2005.
Close Campsfield Campaign demonstrators will be assembling at 12 noon, in Langford Lane, Kidlington near Oxford.
Speakers will include former detainees Patricia Mukandara, Mafungasei Maikokera and Philip Shamamba: Jean-Lous N’Tadi, playwright; and Dave Renton of the NATFHE trade union.
In a statement, Close Campsfield Campaign said yesterday: ‘The first detainees were bussed into Campsfield in late November 1993.
‘The centre is run for profit by GSL (Global Solutions Limited) and since 1993 over ten thousand people have been imprisoned here, most of them seeking asylum as is their right, none of them charged with a crime.
‘They may be held for an indefinite period. This injustice is an injury to all – detainees and people of Oxfordshire.
‘The UK leads Europe in the harshness and inhumanity of its immigration detentions, their number, duration and lack of judicial oversight.
‘Local people have demanded that Campsfield should be closed since its inception.
‘This demand is supported by Oxford Trades Union Council, trade union branches, local Green, Labour and Lib-Dem parties, and the Councils of Oxford City, Oxfordshire County Council and Kidlington Parish.
‘Come along on 26th November and add your voice!
‘There will be an open meeting of the Barbed Wire Britain network of anti detention groups, in Exeter Hall, Kidlington, 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Food will be provided.’
Meanwhile, the Third Reading of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill takes place in the House of Commons today.
The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) on Monday issued a briefing for MPs on Monday:
‘It is misleading to say people will still have a right of appeal, against removal, when they will only have it once they have left. . . .
‘Rather than removing appeal rights, decision-making needs to be improved, and subject to scrutiny.
‘The rights at stake are important: rights to be with spouse and children; rights to continue businesses in which at least £200,000 has been invested, rights to continue in employment or a profession, rights to pursue an education or training; the opportunity to do all these things will be lost if people have to leave the country for the appeal against removal to be heard. . . .
‘There is a risk that the very people whom the new managed migration scheme seeks to attract will be discouraged from coming to the UK by the provisions. . . .
‘There will be out of country appeals. Given what is at stake for appellants and sponsors appeals will be lodged from abroad. Hearings in such cases are costly and complex and it is harder to do justice when the appellant is not present in court and cannot give oral evidence.
‘Claims for compensation and redress will arise. Other people, depending on their situation and the country to which they are returned, will effectively be kept out of any appeal by the provisions.
Entry Clearance appeals:
ILPA continues to challenge Clause 4, which limits rights of appeal in entry clearance cases to family visitors and dependants prescribed by order and denies rights of appeal to all other categories, including workers and students.
‘It also continues to challenge Clause 5, which denies in-country rights of appeal to all and, in many cases, all rights of appeal, to those refused entry on arrival in the UK (Clause 6). Universities have been particularly active in opposing the proposals.
New clauses on terrorism:
‘The government has added new clauses on terrorism to the Bill. They are linked to the new Terrorism Bill and the proposals therein.
‘However they apply to a much wider class than those suspected of terrorism, under any current definition. . . .
‘Clause 51 purports to define in statute the meaning of Article 1F of the Refugee Convention. Our main points:
The 1951 Convention is an international convention. UNHCR statements and international jurisprudence are relevant. To purport to interpret it in statute is to fail to respect this jurisprudence and to usurp the role of judges in interpreting it.
Clause 52 extends the grounds on which people, including but not limited to, terrorists, can be deprived of British citizenship.
‘New provision is made in Clause 53 to deprive people of a “right of abode” in the UK. Rights of appeal and protection against statelessness are preserved. . . .
The new 2002 powers to deprive people of their British citizenship have never been used. The case for their extension is not made out.
Clause 54 applies the “good character” requirement to all registration, as well as naturalisation, applications thus ending the concept of registration by entitlement.
Children, who can only become British through registration, will for the first time be subject to a good character test. . . .
‘Clause 7 provides powers to hear only human rights aspects of national security appeal cases in country, with all considerations of the national security aspects of the case deferred until after removal.
‘The clause contains a sub-section that would allow it to be repealed were the government to succeed in its attempts to persuade the European Court of Human Rights to overturn its jurisprudence on an absolute ban on return to a place where a person is at real risk of torture and substituting a balancing test.
The clause flies in the face of the government’s statement that it will not export risk but charge and try, or extradite, offenders.
‘The proposals are incompatible with a fair trial: the appellant will not be present in court as the national security case against him/her is made, unless expensive video links are used.
Information: searches (clauses 39 & 40):
‘There is widespread concern, including from PCS, the union representing immigration officers, and from Labour backbenchers, at clauses 39 and 40 giving private contractors powers to search people, and to detain them for up to three hours, at ports.
Claimants and Applicants:
procedure (clause 47)
The government has agreed to look again at proposals to make failure to comply with the specified requirements for applications, where these are set out other than in the immigration rules, a ground for mandatory refusal.
‘Clause 12 removes the statutory requirement, although not the intention, that all claims for asylum should be made in person, and to define a “fresh claim” in statute.
‘There are new powers to detain embarking passengers for up to 12 hours. There are new powers to fingerprint those detained, although not arrested, for example on embarkation.
‘The shape of proposals to punish employers employing those who do not have permission to work in the UK has not changed, although concerns have been expressed.
‘Similarly with proposals for information exchanges of data on passengers, and to extend powers to extend passports. The government have indicated that they would not charge individuals for advice, but might charge third parties such as advisors.
‘The Bill has been the focus of lobbying to repeal Section 9 of the 2004 Act which denies all support to failed asylum-seekers and their dependants and an opportunity to express concern at the end of indefinite leave to remain for refugees.
‘The government has indicated that it will not roll out Section 9 if the pilots are not a success and has acknowledged that local authorities involved in the pilots have voiced their concerns, especially around compatibility with the Children Act.’