The Refugee Council warmly welcomes the news released by the Home Office today that Campsfield House immigration removal centre will close by May 2019. This closure will coincide with the end of its current management contract.
Immigration detention is a practice the Refugee Council and others – including Detention Forum which is hosted by the Refugee Council – have long campaigned to end. Extensive research highlights the damaging effect detention can have on the health and wellbeing of those who experience it and unlike many other countries, the UK currently poses no limits on the length of time people can be detained for.
As we have written about previously, the Refugee Council welcomed the findings of the Stephen Shaw review into welfare of vulnerable people in detention. Today’s news demonstrates further progress towards the Government implementation of Shaw’s recommendations. The Refugee Council also welcomes a commitment from the Home Office to aim to reduce the immigration detention estate by almost 40% since 2015 by next summer.
Responding to this news, Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said: “We warmly welcome the news today that Campsfield House immigration removal centre will close by May 2019. We are heartened that the Government is now listening to the concerns being raised by organisations and the people who have themselves experienced detention. Detention is extremely damaging to the lives of people seeking asylum, as well as costly and ineffective. Put simply, it should play no part in the asylum system.
“This news is a significant step in the right direction towards the full implementation of the Stephen Shaw review into immigration detention.
“We welcome the Home Office’s commitment to work with stakeholders to develop alternatives to detention, strengthen support for vulnerable detainees and increase transparency across the detention estate.”