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Call for International Day of Action Against Immigration Prisons

noborders | 04.08.2007 14:25 | No Border Camp 2007 | Migration | World

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:

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 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

No Borders UK



Can we have some clarification?

06.08.2007 23:24

I remember a Stop the War Coalition meeting in Newcastle a couple of years ago, where I proposed that alongside a national demonstration in London we should organise a local demonstration in Newcastle for people who couldn't take a whole day out and go all the way to London, for whatever reason. I was widely attacked by Socialist Worker Party members at the meeting for 'splitting the movement', and told flatly by the comrade from 'Stop the War national office' that 'THERE WILL BE NO LOCAL DEMONSTRATIONS THIS SATURDAY'.

Now.. that's fairly unsurprising given the SWP's reputation for thinking they ARE the movement, and for seeing anyone outside their control as a threat, but it seems a bit more weird coming from a supposedly autonomous and decentralised network like No Borders. I don't make that comparison in order to accuse No Borders of being the same as the SWP, but hopefully to shock people into realising how they're coming across. Can anyone involved in the call-out for the 22nd clarify if the views of 'wondering' are shared by other people? Is there going to be general hostility from No Borders to anyone who organises solidarity actions on the 22nd apart from at Tinsley House? If so, I think that's a big shame and will put people off from supporting you in future, and even from getting involved in the asylum rights movement more generally.

Ironically, I was going to propose that some TCAR members should come down for the No Borders Camp, UNTIL I saw the call-out for the day of action on the 22nd, which I interpreted as international decentralised day of actions meaning 'organise something wherever you are', and so I suggested a local solidarity action instead, which people agreed with. I wasn't at the organising meetings for the 22nd or the camp (I live in Newcastle, all the meeting's I've seen advertised so far have been in London - fair enough, but don't expect me to pop down for the evening), so I was responding to the call-out, without knowing the full discussions behind it, and I obviously understood it wrong. But surely you want people outside the No Borders 'in the know' people to respond to your call-outs? Isn't that how things will link up and grow?

Considering that lots of people will hopefully be linking to this call-out in order to spread the word, can I suggest 'wondering' asks the moderators to remove his comment and comments responding to it (including this one), as people coming onto the page and reading: 'Call for support - Offer of support - Attack on the people offering support from the people who asked for it' may not be the best way to encourage others to throw in their support as well. And this day of action deserves everybody's support.

Victory to the Campsfield detainees!
Shut all immigration prisons!

TCAR member
mail e-mail:

Clarification - Letter to TCAR re 22 Sep rally in Newcastle

07.09.2007 16:46

This letter was sent to TCAR on 8 August, 2007:

Hello comrades :)

We noticed that TCAR have announced a rally in Newcastle city centre in support of the International Day of Action Against Immigration Prisons on 22 September, and that there have been some comments about this on Indymedia. We briefly discussed this at the last Camp organising meeting and would like to clarify our position to you.

Some of us argued that the call-out was for protests and actions at and against detention centres and that scarce energies shouldn't be diverted to rallies in city centres, as these could be held on any other day. Others, however, felt that it's fair enough that people do what they want and are capable of, given the hardships travelling all the way to Gatwick may enatil. After all, this is what "decentralised" means.

So, while we would have liked you to be with us at Gatwick, we still support you in your choice to organise something else somewhere else. And by the way, thanks for responding to the call-out and keep up the good

All the best,

The Gatwick No Border Camp organising group

The Gatwick No Border Camp


Hide the following 7 comments

TCAR will be supporting the day of action

04.08.2007 23:45

Tyneside Community Action for Refugees decided at its general meeting today to support the day of action, with a protest outside North Shields Immigration Reporting Centre during the week before, and a rally in Newcastle city centre on the 22nd itself.

Together we are stronger! Together we will win!

TCAR member
mail e-mail:

so why the fuck is TCAR not coming down to Tinsley House then ???

05.08.2007 07:10

You might have reda that the uk-wide action for that day is called for Gatwick airport.
Is there a specific reason why you are now mobilising to Newcastle instead of doing a simple
trip on the bus??


against SOME prisons?

05.08.2007 10:24

When will you recognise that the connections that struggles against immigration control are intimately connected to the struggles to end all oppressions?

While you continue to promote the “afterwards” strategy of reforms to end border controls first, and end criminalisation, racism and every other oppression later, you promote the status quo.


In support

05.08.2007 16:01


Newcastle to Gatwick is a long way. Lot's of campaigns prefer local support actions rather than national (ie everyone travel to London twice a week) actions. It helps save the environment, starve capitalism and it includes people who otherwise couldn't participate. When anti-war demos have been called in London, simultaneous anti-war demos have been held in Edinburgh or Glasgow or often both, which to me makes sense. Think globally, act locally.


If you support ending all prisons then it makes sense to support any limited campaign against certain types of prison and to encourage the wider struggle rather than berate those who are doing something. Rome wasn't burned in a day you know ;-)


sept 22nd and the new detention centre

06.08.2007 08:03

many groups mobilise against the new detention centre at Gatwick for september 22nd, thats the idea of that action day. off course its not only a protest against SOME detention centre, its against all of them.

but for uk, this specific day was thought as a protest against the plans to build Britains's newest immigration prison. (the work on the building site started 2 weeks ago).


For local, national and international action?

06.08.2007 09:36

'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'

Which bit of this says the only choices are Gatwick or staying at home? Doesn't whoever wrote the irate comment WANT solidarity?

TCAR has a wide membership in Newcastle including lots of people (mainlyasylum seekers) who have no money and sometimes can't even travel out of the city on free transport. What is the the problem with, instead of insisting everyone get on the bus, not just to London but even further south, there is a local action in support?


Numbers hide the real scale of the problem

23.09.2007 21:35

I already submitted this comment, but it has not appeared. So here I go again.

The numbers 2600 places and 4000 places don't mean much, and don't convey the scale of the problem. If we look at how detention centres are used and, for the sake of argument, assume that asylum seekers and those classed as illegal and due for deportation or likely to abscond, are detained on average for 2 weeks (the average is likely to be longer), then that means that around 62,500 separate detentions take place in the course of a year with 2600 places. Some people are detained more than once, and each time they are detained will count as a separate detention. If capacity increases from 2600 to 4000, then the annual number of detentions can go closer to 100,000. The scale of the capacity is mind-boggling; with declining asylum numbers, who is all this space going to be used for?! The mind boggles.

Helen Anderson