Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Britain's institutional cruelty to refugees

As part of its policy of institutional cruelty to refugees, Britain detains people who claim asylum in immigration detention centres. Tens of thousands of people a year are detained in this fashion, not for any crime, but purely for the administrative convenience of the state (and, lets be honest, to demonstrate viciousness in an effort to deter people from fleeing torture). As if this wasn't enough, the British government now plans to let those people be thrown into solitary confinement for prolonged periods for arbitrary reasons:

People held at Britain’s immigration removal centres can be thrown into solitary confinement against medical advice and held for hours without any explanation, according to new guidance set to be issued to guards by the Home Office.

A draft “detention services order”, spelling out guidance to staff at the immigration prisons on the use of solitary confinement, says the sanction can be applied even if medical advice explicitly warns that it would be “life threatening”.

The practice, described by campaigners as “cruel”, can also be handed out by guards to anyone who is judged to be “stubborn” or “disobedient” – despite concerns by official watchdogs that vulnerable people with mental health problems are being being seriously affected.

Remember, these people haven't been sentenced for any crime. They're (supposedly) not in these detention centres to be punished. And yet they'll be subjected to a solitary confinement regime far worse than anything suffered by sentenced prisoners (who require a formal hearing to be detained for longer than an evening, and the authorisation of a cabinet Minister in order to be confined for more than 72 hours).

But I guess that's just another example of Britain's new, post-Brexit cruelty and racism.