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Martina Anderson MLA to visit controversial Dungavel detention centre

1 December, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA and Policing Board Member Martina Anderson is to visit the controversial Dungavel Holding Centre in Scotland tomorrow (Wednesday), in order to view the conditions in which asylum seekers are held there.

Martina Anderson said:

“This visit comes about as a result of concerns which myself and others raised within the Committee of the First and Deputy First Minister regarding the Dungavel centre in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

“There have been a number of high-profile cases where asylum seekers have been forcibly removed from the North of Ireland and detained in Dungavel. People like Aderonke Falode, originally from Nigeria who had settled in Belfast with her three children, and who had played a positive role in the East Belfast community and her local church

“The purpose of the visit is initially to see at first-hand the kind of conditions in which these people are held.

“But, for me, it is also about highlighting Sinn Féin’s continued opposition to the use of draconian detention centres. Our party is wholly committed to the rights of all people and the use of these centres is in contravention of international human rights standards.”
Ms. Anderson also warned that the situation is likely to deteriorate as a result of the British’s Government’s latest immigration legislation.

“The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill will increase immigration controls and barriers to legal citizenship,” she said.

“It will also see police powers being conferred on the UK Border Agency which would put them beyond the accountability of the Police Ombudsman.

“That is a dangerous step and one which I believe will lead to more and more innocent families being transported to places like Dungavel

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