Yarl’s Wood centre controversy resolved

Protestors return to rooms without staff intervention

12th February 2010:
The Yarl’s Wood centre controversy has finally been resolved. Days after 80 mothers detained at the centre after being separated from their children had gone on a hunger strike in protest, the UK Border Agency has claimed the protestors have returned to their rooms without the need for staff intervention.

The incident had resulted in the police being called in to the Yarl’s Wood centre in Bedfordshire. The women are said to be put their foot down against their detention and the existing conditions.

Responding to media coverage on the protest at the immigration removal centre, strategic director for criminality and detention David Wood said the peaceful protest has been resolved.

“Around 40 women at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre were raising issues around their detention and progress of their cases; they returned to their rooms without the need for staff intervention, and UK Border Agency staff at the centre are liaising with caseworkers to resolve concerns raised by these individuals.

‘The well-being of detainees is of paramount concern to the UK Border Agency, which is why healthcare staff and independent monitors from the Independent Monitoring Board were at the scene to witness the women’s protest. The demonstration remained passive at all times and there was no use of force. The detainees were integrated back into the centre at the earliest opportunity.

“All detainees are treated with dignity and respect, with access to legal advice and heathcare facilities. We only remove those who both the UK Border Agency and the independent courts deem to have no legal right to be here,” he concluded.

During the incident, several protesters were reportedly separated from the other detainees. They were, rather, held back in a lobby or corridor for several hours after they expressed desire to speak to officials. One of the detainee at the centre for three months without her two children claimed about 80 or so women were compelled to spend at least six hours shut in a hallway.

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