These people do outstanding work on immigration detention

We, Freed Voices, go into 2020 determined to stand up for people in detention. We know we are not alone.

2019 has almost come to an end, and we’re looking ahead to the immense challenges of 2020.

Indefinite immigration detention still exists in the UK on a scale that is almost unfathomable – around 24,000 people locked up this year for the second year running.

We, Freed Voices, go into 2020 determined to stand up for people in detention, and ready, as always, to challenge the unjust and inhumane practices that put them there. We do this not as ‘former detainees’ or as ‘case studies’, but as experts-by-experience.

We know we are not alone. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise and thank those who have done, and continue to do, outstanding work on immigration detention.

In no particular order:

Detention Forum Project Director Eiri Ohtani and all Detention Forum member organisations for all the great work they have done this year.

May Bulman from the Independent and Diane Taylor from the Guardian for exceptional journalism and commitment to keeping both immigration detention and the voices of those held there in the news.

Detention Action, the partner organisation of Freed Voices, for their work supporting people in immigration detention centres, and for driving forward the campaign against the government’s inhuman detention policies.

MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour, the SNP, the Lib-Dems, the Green Party, The DUP, and Plaid Cymru, as well as independent MPs, who this year signed up to much-needed reforms to immigration detention, such as automatic judicial oversight and a maximum time limit of 28 days. We go into 2020 knowing that support for ending the injustice of indefinite detention is strong.     

Ben & Jerry’s for their support and commitment to standing up for refugee and migrants’ rights at a time when it would be very easy not to do so. And, of course, for making excellent ice cream.

Trust for London for their vital support for Freed Voices – we could not continue without it.

Toufique Hossain and the Duncan Lewis Public Law team for your tireless work on immigration detention cases and seemingly boundless energy for challenging injustices within the detention system. 

Medical Justice for their tireless work upholding the medical rights of some of the most vulnerable people in immigration detention. In a detention system that largely answers only to itself, the independent medical advice and assessments you provide are absolutely vital. 

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BiD) for ceaselessly doing the most important and fundamental of jobs – getting people who should not be in detention out of detention. Thousands of people have you to thank for their freedom.

AVID and all visiting organisations for training so many volunteer visitors this year. Visitors are such a vital source of comfort and support – thank you so much for your work.

The Home Affairs Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights for your independent and comprehensive inquiries into the UK’s immigration detention system this year. Thank you to the Home Affairs Select Committee for the following line in your report, which pretty much says it all:

“We found serious problems with almost every element of the immigration detention system.”

Home Affairs Select Committee, March 2019

Quakers in Britain for your great work on immigration detention this year, and your support for Freed Voices.

We also commend all experts-by-experience groups for ensuring that the voices of those affected by issues are at the forefront.

Lastly, there are so many more people and organisations we would like to mention but the list would just be too long. So a big thank you to all those working on immigration detention and supporting the people held there.