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Solidarity hunger strike for detained asylum seekers

MULE | 11.02.2010 22:54 | Anti-racism | Migration

84 Northwest No Borders activists will take part in a 24-hour fast this Friday 12 February in support of the 84 detainees on hunger strike in the Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire. The female detainees at Yarl’s Wood began their hunger strike to protest at the length of their incarceration in the centre, as well as inhumane treatment.

The purpose of the detainees’ hunger strike, which began on Friday 5 February, is to draw attention to conditions inside the centre. They are demanding access to medical treatment and calling for an end to the detention of women and children.

Yarl’s Wood houses 405 women and children who have come to the UK seeking asylum and is notorious for detaining women for long periods of time. The centre is currently in “lockdown”, meaning that the women are trapped in the communal areas with no access to toilet facilities, food, water or any private space.

Campaigners have stressed that detention should be the last resort when dealing with asylum seekers. 70 per cent of the women interned at Yarl’s Wood have suffered sexual assault in their country of origin, which makes their current situation all the more appalling. The conditions inside Yarl’s Wood have been described as “physical and mental torture” by detainees.

Jess Bradley of No Borders Manchester said: “These women have come here fleeing persecution. It is a disgrace that they are treated so inhumanely. We support the asylum seekers’ demands and call on the UK Border Agency to take action”.

The No Borders 24-hour fast begins at 9am Friday 12 February, finishing at 9am Saturday 13. Activists from Bradford and Manchester will gather for a public vigil at 12pm Friday in Piccadilly Gardens.

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