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Sinn Féin to raise motion at BCC condemning detention of Asylum Seekers

5 January, 2005

Sinn Fein Councillor for North Belfast, David Kennedy, will at tonight's full meeting of Belfast City Council, raise a motion asking Belfast City Council to condemn the practice of the detention of asylum seekers in Prison facilities. Currently asylum seekers are held at Maghaberry, Crumlin Road and Hydebank prisons.

Speaking today Cllr Kennedy said:

"The image of Belfast, as the only city on the islands of Britain and Ireland where the practice of detaining asylum seekers in prison facilities is conducted leaves Belfast in a challenging position and open to international criticism. The practice is immoral and locking asylum seekers in prison is a disgraceful practice which clearly breaches human rights standards and must be ended.

"Sinn Fein have already, following a visit to the Crumlin Road facility, raised our concerns over the health and welfare of those detained.

"Tonight Sinn Fein will be asking Belfast City Council to join with the wide range of groups who stand in opposition to this practice including the Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Amnesty International and all four of the main churches in the north to name but a few."

"I am also 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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