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Asylum seekers detention breach of human rights

27 October, 2004


Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, Kathy Stanton, has stated that the detention of asylum seekers is completely unacceptable and a breach of f undamental human rights. Speaking after a fact finding visit to the detainees in the Crumlin Road Gaol Ms Stanton said:

"The detention of asylum seekers in prison facilities is completely unacceptable and a breach of their human rights. Sinn Féin's position is clear. Asylum seekers have committed no crime and should not be detained in prison facilities.

"What is of also particular concern is the health and well being of the detainees. To avail of doctor's appointments or counselling facilities the detainees have to travel to Maghaberry.

"Given the negative experience the detainees have of Maghaberry as the initial place where they are processed and the criminalized, alongside the fact that two detainees suffered racial abuse by staff last week, there is a fear and unwillingness to visit the prison even on health grounds.

"With today's figures highlighting the rise in racist attacks to have Asylum seekers detained and stygmatized while they are possible fleeing poverty and human rights abuses in their own countries is sending out the wrong signals and can institutionalise racism.

"I am calling for the immediate release of those currently being detained and for the British government to review both its draconian immigration policies and the further detention and criminalisation of asylum seekers." ENDS

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