Hunger strike at immigration centre
The Press Association
August 12, 2008
Around 60 detainees at an immigration detention centre have gone on hunger strike, an inmate said.
The strike was started three days ago by a group of 13 Iraqi Kurd asylum seekers in protest at being held at the Campsfield House site near Kidlington, Oxfordshire.
The detainees began refusing meals at 5pm on Saturday and have since been joined by around 50 others of different nationalities. The Iraqi Kurds started their protest after claiming a former detainee from another centre committed suicide after being deported back to his former homeland last week.
One of the strikers Fazzel Abdul, who has been in Britain for seven years, said they are calling on the authorities to release them from Campsfield House and stop the policy of forced deportation.
He said: “Without any reason we are being held here and they are trying to deport us to the most dangerous country in the world.
“We want people to listen to us. We are refusing all food and water and we will keep going.
“It is better to be dead than to return to Iraq.”
A UK Border Agency spokesman said that although the detainees are refusing to eat prepared meals they do have access to snacks.
He added: “A small number of detainees at Campsfield have refused their meals in recent days. The situation is under control and the matter is under review.
“But we have got our priorities straight. In 2007 we deported the highest ever number of foreign lawbreakers, up by a huge 80% and we are committed to removing those who have no legal basis to stay in the UK.”