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UK’s Red Cross Calls for Major Overhaul of ‘Damaging’ Immigration Detention System

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Local Editor

The British Red Cross called for an overhaul of the UK’s immigration detention system.

Conditions are such that detainees suffer mental health problems which sometimes lead to suicide attempts, according to the charity.

Thousands of innocent asylum seekers – often fleeing war and torture – are detained each year and locked up indefinitely with no support, the charity warned.

The Red Cross calls for significant reforms including a 28-day limit on detention. It found cases of asylum-seekers being detained for as long as two years and seven months.

Five of the 26 detainees interviewed for the report had attempted suicide while they were detained, and just 25 of them said they had been given no access to mental health support services.

Pregnant women continue to be “needlessly detained” in breach of the Home Office’s own guidance – with 47 pregnant women detained in the year to June 2017.

The charity said the “overly onerous and traumatic” experience of attending immigration reporting centers – which many are required to do every two weeks – should be overhauled by banning the practice of detaining people when they turn up.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “Most of the people in the UK asylum process have fled conflict or persecution to find a place of safety. They have already experienced more trauma and anguish than the rest of us could possibly imagine.”

“The threat of detention without notice hangs over many people going through the asylum process in the UK. Our research shows that not knowing whether this week will be the week they are detained again, can make the process of having to report regularly extremely distressing.”

“This can exacerbate existing mental health issues and mean people never truly feel free,” he added.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team