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New Hunger Strikes Threaten Campsfield: Oxford's

Campaign to Close Campsfield/ press release | 26.07.2007 18:44 | Anti-racism | Migration | Oxford

++Government refuses to spend £1bn/year to
protect against real floods; instead wastes
£1.5bn on an imaginary one.++

This week, our Government has shown how
unprepared has been to deal with the floods its
own experts had been warning it about since 2004
[1]. Instead of spending the estimated £1 billion
a year needed to forestall the trauma inflicted
on people in Botley and Abingdon this week, it
has spent over £1.5 billion [2] a year (and
rising) to inflict outrageous levels of suffering
[3] on completely innocent people in the name of
"defending" us against a largely imaginary "flood
of refugees and asylum seekers" [4].

Ironically, many of this cockeyed policy's
victims are also victims of the kind of
devastating and all-too-real floods, of which
people in Botley and Abingdon got a horrifying
taste this week.

On Saturday from noon till 2pm, we'll be trying
to make contact with those victims, when the
Close Campsfield Campaign holds its 164th
demonstration outside the IRC's razor-wire
perimeter. These include a substantial number of
Sri-Lankan refugees, victims not only of the
Asian Tsunami of late 2004 but also of a
genocidal civil war to which our Government is
determined to deport them, at great public
expense, despite evidence that deportees are
being imprisoned and tortured there on arrival.

This week, The Close Campsfield Campaign learned
that Sri Lankan Tamil detainees are on hunger
strike in at least 5 of the government's 10 IRCs.
Some of them have been refusing food for nearly 3
weeks. Below is a statement released yesterday by
the 10 Tamils currently refusing food at Haslar
IRC (Gosport, Hampshire) [5]. We know that a
substantial number of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees
are incarcerated in Campsfield. At the time of
this release we are trying to establish if they,
too, are on hunger-strike.

Meanwhile, thanks to Government's obsession with
imaginary rather than actual floods, hundreds of
Oxfordshire residents are now discovering how
quickly, easily and suddenly one can find oneself
a refugee, and how nasty it is when it happens.



1. Source: "Ministers warned three years ago over
flood defence failings" Patrick Wintour and Karen
McVeigh, The Guardian, 24/07/2007 -,,2133329,00.html

2. Figure provided by Professor Roger Zetter
(Director of Oxford University's Refugee Studies
Centre) to Asylum Welcome AGM, 2/07/2007. It is
probably a huge under-estimate. Even so, he
pointed out that this sum is 50% more than the £1
billion annual, world-wide budget of the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

3. For examples (of which there are too many to
list) see the web site of Medical Justice:

... and in particular their account of
the mental and physical destruction of Ugandan
torture and rape-survivor Sophie Odogo in Yarl's
Wood IRC, Bedfordshire. "It is unlikely she will
ever be able to live independently again". See:

4. The numbers of refugees reaching the UK has
never been more than a tiny fraction of the world
total (around 20,000 claimed asylum in the UK
2006. The highest-ever number was around 80,000
in the year preceding the US/UK invasion of Iraq,
and made up largely of Iraquis intent on escaping
the impending violence. This contrasts with the
235,805 who enter the country on work permits,
369,000 as students, 1.3 million returning
British expatriates and 8 foreign million
visitors. (Source: Home Office Asylum
Statistics: 1st Quarter Jan/Feb/March 2007; the
other figures are averages for the years
1997-2002, from Open Borders (2nd edition) by
Teresa Hayter, 2003, page x.

The world total of asylum seekers and refugees
given by the UNHCR is 32.9 million, of whom the
vast majority are in such places as Palestine,
Syria, Iran, Zambia, South Africa, and the Great
Lakes area bordering the Democratic Republic of
Congo. Source:

5. Statement from Sri Lankan hunger strikers in
Haslar IRC, Gosport Hants (issued 25/7/07):

We are on hunger strike since 22 July 2007 and we
wish to make the following appeal:

1) Please do not forcibly return us to Sri Lanka
until peace has returned to Sri Lanka or at least
until the Country Guidance case on Sri Lanka [LP
(Sri Lanka) AA/07365/2005] is promulgated by the
Asylum and Immigration Tribunal because all our
cases had been rejected based on the outdated
Country Guidance Case on Sri Lanka namely TJ (Sri
Lanka) (2002) UKIAT 01860] which was published in
June 2002, 4 months after the signing of the
ceasefire agreement which broke down in August

2) Please immediately release us from detention
and allow us to stay with our families, relatives
and friends until all our cases have been
reviewed by the Home Office.

3) Please urge the Sri Lankan authorities to stop
torturing Mr. Sivarupan who is being detained by
the Sri Lankan authorities in Negombo Prison
since he was returned by the UK Government to Sri
Lanka on 18 July 2007 and urge the Sri Lanka
authorities to release him from Negombo Prison in
Sri Lanka immediately.

4) Please urge the Sri Lankan authorities to
investigate the killing of a Sri Lankan Tamil at
Colombo airport on 14 September 2006 who was
deported by the UK Government.

Source: National Coalition of Anti Deportation
Campaigns (NCADC):
Accessed 26/07/2007

Campaign to Close Campsfield/ press release


Campsfield demonstration on Saturday, 12 noon till 2pm

26.07.2007 18:53

Outside Campsfield detention centre.