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Update on Detention Centre Hunger Strikes

london noborders | 25.04.2006 23:49 | April 2006 No Borders Days of Action | Migration | London

24 April 2006: The hunger strikes in Colnbrook have ended. Meanwhile, on 20 April, around 20 Turkish Kurdish detainees began hunger striking in Harmondsworth. A coalition of Kurdish organisations are planning a campaign of support. Here are some details about the situation in Colnbrook:

The hunger strike at Colnbrook Detention centre, near Heathrow, has now ended, and the sanctions against those on hunger strike (such as no access to IT, chapel, shop etc) have been lifted. But:

- Detainees within Colnbrook have formed a movement called 'Cry Freedom' within detention centres, to demand an end to detention.

- They had a meeting on Friday with a home office official, who has promised to look at all their cases individually, and they will have a further meeting today.

- John McDonnell, the MP for Harmondsworth, has been in touch with Charles Clarke's office, who have promised to send a Home Office minister to Colnbrook to talk with a delegation of detainees. They don't know when this meeting will be but when it happens they will make a delegation from each wing to send to the meeting.

- At this meeting they wish to discuss the issue of detention, as a whole, rather than just individual cases, particularly the length of time people are detained, the lack of any automatic bail review, reasons for detention and the quota-driven attitude of the home office.

- At the moment they don't wish to issue any public statement, but will wait for the outcome of this meeting.

However, on Thursday 20 April around 20 Turkish Kurdish detainees began hunger striking in Harmondsworth. A coalition of Kurdish organisations, are planning a campaign of support. At the time of writing this is ongoing.

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While some have come off hunger strike others continue to refuse food.

27.04.2006 12:38

As I understand the hunger strike has not ended, but clearly has changed it nature, and is in a differnet phase, with many now coming off it. And those remaining not expecting demands to be meet.

I think hunger strikes do not end until last person no longer refuses food.
Perhaps the problem is solely looking at hunger strike as a whole. While it is important to recognise the group dynamic of all those that began the hunger strike, with clear demands, one need to at same time look at each case.

As far as I understand John Turkson is not interested in living any more and is about to starve himself to death. I think this is a very important form of hunger strike which should not be dismissed.

It has been suggested that people understand John's viewpoint particularly by visiting him and offering him any possible comforts in his situation.

His comment on
is very moving.

Perhaps others who are in touch with the refugees can update us with more.