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Conference Against Immigration Detention (vom 24.09.2000),
URL: http://no-racism.net/article/43/, besucht am 02.03.2024

[24. Sep 2000]

Conference Against Immigration Detention

Delegates from 25 countries attended the conference against immigration detention at Ruskin College, Oxford, on 15-17 September 2000. The following appeal is made to all refugee and other migrant, human rights, anti-racist, trade union and other organisations sympathetic to the call for an end to immigration detention across Europe.

APPEAL FROM THE CONFERENCE

One of the decisions of the conference was to call a EUROPE- WIDE DAY OF ACTIONS AGAINST IMMIGRATION DETENTION.

We now ask your help in choosing the date for such actions. Please reply to this e-mail after you have had time to consider our request and give:

Below follow the decisions of the conference, a brief report on its proceedings, and contact details. If you would like a copy of the
full conference report when it comes out, please let us know.

THE DECISIONS OF THE CONFERENCE WERE

1. To demonstrate solidarity with detainees across Europe and a determination to end immigration detention by reconvening the conference outside one of the UK"s most notorious places of detention, Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre, at 5 pm on 17th September 2000.

2. To participate in a European-wide network of anti-detention and anti-deportation campaigns.{PRIVATE }

3. To facilitate the use of existing e-mail networks which oppose immigration detention.

4. To call an international day of action against immigration detention on a date to be decided in consultation with participants in the conference and other networks in Europe.

5. To maximise Europe-wide participation in co-ordinated actions against detention at places of detention, in town centres and outside key symbolic institutions.

6. To identify and lobby MEPs to raise migrants and asylum seekers rights in the European Parliament.

To encourage discussion on the issue of i mmigration detention in schools.

To support the demonstration called by the UK civil rights caravan on 14. October in London.

REPORT OF CONFERENCE

Representatives included people from refugee organisations, campaigners for an end to detention and expert speakers from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Algeria, Colombia, Iraq, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and India, and from most of Europe. People also come from the Belarus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,
Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Speakers described in detail the intensifying racist crackdown on asylum seekers and other migrants being pursued by European governments, and in particular the spread of detention centres across Europe. In Germany, more and more states are building detention centres. The UK government is quadrupling the number of detention places. EU governments are trying to persuade the Czech Republic, as an aspiring EU member, to detain more migrants and close its borders to the east. A delegate from Ireland expressed fears that it is only a matter of time before his country joins the crackdown. A positive note came from Italy, where 14 months" campaigning in Milan achieved the closure of Via Corelli, a much-condemned detention centre. Over 20,000 people attended the last demonstration of the campaign, and it took a two-hour riot and the physical forcing of the gates to persuade the authorities the centre was an unacceptable abuse of human rights. Unfortunately other centres remain open elsewhere in Italy, and Via Corelli! is being replaced.

Testimony was heard from former detainees, such as the Algerian who had lived in England for nine years, only to be seized one day by immigration officials, detained indefinitely in Rochester prison and threatened with deportation. As a result he lost both his job and accommodation and nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Workshops covered specific issues: racism in the media; the European Convention on Human Rights; the trauma of detention; asylum from rape; organising ball for detainees; direct actions at airports to stop deportations; and at detention centres to call for their closure; and the introduction of penal regimes inside detention centres.

On Sunday, the conference was joined by and heard speakers from the UK Civil Rights Caravan, currently touring Britain to campaign for racial
justice and the rights of asylum seekers.

On Sunday afternoon over 1 00 of the delegates held a rally outside Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre near Oxford. There were speakers from the Civil Rights Caravan, from France, Germany and Italy. The demonstration continued at the back of the detention centre, where the delegates spoke over the fence to the detainees in ten languages: English, French, Farsi, Chinese, Kurdish, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Bengali and Hindi Detainees shouted
in reply and showed their thanks by sending three packets of biscuits over the fence to the demonstrators.{PRIVATE }


The next regular monthly demonstration at Campsfield will be on 30 September 2000. The Civil Rights Caravan will be in Dover, Margate and Bristol next weekend - for more details see www.ncrm.org.uk/caravan

Contributions to and requests for copies of the post-conference report should be e-mailed to:

suke.wolton (at) stx.ox.ac.uk or posted 40 Richmond Road, Oxford OX1 2JJ (tel:(44) 01865 557282)

Campsfield web-site: www.closecampsfield.org>