Vigil at the Derwentside Migrant Removal Center

CAMPAIGNS, opposing a new detention center for refugees, held a vigil on the field to commemorate those who died as a result of their ‘hostile environment’ policies.

Remove Detention Members: The Hassockfield group convened at the new Derwentside Immigrant Removal Centre, where 80 failed asylum seekers were held at one time before being deported.

The facility, the former Hassockfield Safe Training Center in Medomsley, near Consett, will open next month after the Home Office plan is implemented, despite opposition from Durham County Council.

Northern Eco:

The seizure at Derwentside IRC

Campaigners placed candles and flowers, listened to statements from former detainees, read the names of those who died in detention centres, and carried banners that read “No death in custody” and “Immigrant justice now”. Work at the construction site was delayed for one hour, as there was a guard at the gates.

A spokesperson for Abolition of Detention said: “Detention is an inhuman practice that is responsible for harming and traumatizing migrant communities.

“Deportation puts individuals at risk of persecution in the country from which they fled and breaks families apart.

“It should be noted that the UK is the only member of the Council of 47 European Member States to use the practice of inhuman indefinite detention.

“Many people living in UK detention centers have described them as prison-like or worse in their condition.”

After a period of permanent training, it was understood that the women would be transferred at the beginning of December.

Campaigners point out that there has been no consultation with the local community.

Northern Eco:

Home Minister Priti Patel

In a written ministry statement to Parliament announcing the decision, Interior Minister Priti Patel said: “Detention plays a limited but important role in maintaining effective immigration control and securing our borders.

“It is true that those who do not have the right to stay in the UK should be deported unless they leave voluntarily.

“This new, smaller migrant removal center will replace Yarl’s Wood as the only migrant removal center exclusively for women. Protecting and promoting women’s well-being is at the forefront of the new facility and is based on Yarl’s Wood’s learning and experience.”

Read more: Images from inside the controversial immigration detention center to open next month

The move was opposed by some locals, politicians and campaign groups and meant that previous plans for Homes England’s multi-million pound housing scheme approved by the local authority would be shelved.

During the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, boys held at the Medomsley Detention Center at the scene suffered horrific abuse and 1,800 complaints were filed.

The Hassockfield center was closed in 2015, but remains part of the Home Office ‘Detention Mansion’.

Northern Eco:

Former North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock

North West Durham MP Richard Holden favored the facility, citing the creation of 200 jobs, but her predecessor, Laura Pidcock, was openly opposed to the move on social media.

He said: “This is part of the deepening of the hostile environment – our people being detained by an immigration system that dehumanizes our people.

“Please join us at the National Show at Consett on Saturday, December 4th at 11:30am.”

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