Joan Ryan MP slams Government over its ‘shameful’ immigration detention policy towards vulnerable people
Joan Ryan MP has called on the Prime Minister and the UK Government to apologise for the torment suffered by victims of torture and other vulnerable people resulting from their imprisonment in the country’s deteriorating immigration detention system.
Ms Ryan, in a major debate she secured in Parliament on Thursday 14 June, strongly criticised the Government’s Adults at Risk policy – intended to safeguard vulnerable individuals by routeing them away from or out of detention – which, far from increasing protection to vulnerable detainees, has increased the risk of harm.
There have been 6 court cases in recent years which have reported on “inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees. Last year, 11 people died in custody – detainees are dying at a faster rate in immigration detention than has been seen before – and 2,272 people were on formal self-harm watch. This constitutes approximately 8% of the detained population, or almost one in ten.
The Adults at Risk policy was drafted when Theresa May was the Home Secretary and is another prime example – like the Windrush scandal – of the Government’s ‘hostile environment’ towards immigrants.
In recent weeks Joan Ryan has also been challenging, in Parliament, the Government’s proposed changes to the Adults at Risk policy which, according to expert organisations like Freedom from Torture and Medical Justice, would make a bad situation even worse.
Ms Ryan is calling on the Government to withdraw its proposed amendments and to conduct an urgent review of immigration detention policy, which should also include an end to indefinite immigration detention.
Joan Ryan MP said:
“The new Home Secretary has pledged to re-evaluate the Government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy because of the Windrush scandal.
The treatment of victims of torture and other vulnerable people in our country’s immigration detention system is nothing short of scandalous too and these issues should be an important part of the Home Secretary’s review.
The current safeguards and the proposed changes to the law the Government are planning to introduce have failed to provide and will not deliver adequate protection to vulnerable people.
We need a fundamental review of Government policy because the system in place runs counter to this country’s proudest traditions of helping those most in need.”