CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the proposed development of an immigration detention centre have voiced their disapproval.

A coalition of local people and campaign groups from across the country took part in Saturday's protest in the rain outside the proposed location for the centre, the former Hassockfield Detention Centre site, at Medomsley, near Consett, County Durham.

It was the third demonstration organised at the site and the first protest planned to take place on the third Saturday each month.

Should it be developed, the centre will detain women with insecure immigration status who are at risk of deportation by the Home Office.

Protestors claim detention is an inhumane practice, responsible for the harm and traumatisation of migrant communities.

They said it also puts individuals at risk of persecution in the country from which they fled and tears families apart, and point to the suggestion that the UK is the only member of the 47-member State Council of Europe to use the “inhumane practice” of indefinite detention.

Ex-MEP Julie Ward, of the Hassockfield group, said many people who have experienced detention have described it as, “prison-like or worse” in terms of conditions.

“We should be offering sanctuary and safety to those who are fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty.

“Instead this new detention centre and Priti Patel’s new Immigration Bill will needlessly lock-up more people and, in this instance, plan to deport more vulnerable women to dangerous and deadly situations.

“I am involved in campaigning against this proposed detention centre and for women trapped in Afghanistan because the issues are interlinked.

“Women here and around the world deserve freedom and dignity, regardless of their background or immigration status.”

The Home Office plans to detain 80 women at what will be termed Hassockfield Immigration Removal Centre, now to be renamed as Derwentside IRC, creating up to 200 local jobs.


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