Three weeks ago today, 120 people in a detention centre in Bedfordshire (which holds mainly but not only women) started a hunger strike. It gathered momentum and has escalated into an all-out strike: work strikes, occupations, and a refusal to co-operate with the mechanisms of detention from the inside.
People inside continue to strike to demand that their voices are heard. The strikers’ latest testimony on the Detained Voices website, released today, calls for a meeting with the Home Affairs Select Committee. This Committee are due to meet with private security company Serco, who run Yarl’s Wood, next week.
How can you continue to support the protests and stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers?
- Sign the Petition – calling on the Home Office to grant the demands of Yarl’s Wood strikers
- Send a letter to your MP outlining what the strikers are calling for. Use this template, use the Write to Them website
- Tweet Solidarity photos – tweet, retweet and share photos holding signs of support for Yarl’s Wood strikers, and share using hashtag #HungerForFreedom. Amplify the voices of the strikers by retweeting their accounts from @detainedvoices
- Support the strikers call on the Home Affairs Select Committee to meet with the strikers before they question Serco on Tuesday 20 March, and to question the Home Office and Immigration Minister by contacting the committee to let them know the strikers demands. On Tuesday 20th March 2018, the Home Affairs Select Committee are meeting to discuss Serco’s contract with the Home Office. The Yarl’s Wood Strikers are requesting a meeting with Yvette Cooper, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, as well as any other members of the Committee as possible. The hunger strike is now into its third week. Over the weekend, a number of strikers were deported despite attempts to prevent this. It is imperative that the strikers are involved in the Committee’s decision as to whether Serco should retain its contract with the Home Office, particularly in light of the alleged abuses detainees have faced at the hands of Serco employees. We are asking you to contact Yvette Cooper, Stephen Shaw and their teams to request that they meet with the strikers before the Committee makes a decision on this important matter. [Full contact list and templates below]
Select Committee members @CommonsHomeAffs
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP (Chair) Labour @yvettecoopermp
Rehman Chishti MP Conservative @rehman_chishti
Sir Christopher Chope MP Conservative
Stephen Doughty MP Labour (Co-op) @sdoughtymp
Kirstene Hair MP Conservative @kirstene4angus
Sarah Jones MP Labour @laboursj
Tim Loughton MP Conservative @timloughton
Stuart C. McDonald MP Scottish National Party @stuart_mcdonald
Douglas Ross MP Conservative @douglas4moray
Naz Shah MP Labour @nazshahbfd
John Woodcock MP Labour (Co-op) @jwoodcockmp
To [Yvette Cooper/Stephen Shaw/etc],
I am contacting you as a concerned member of the public who has been following the Yarl’s Wood hunger strike. There are 120 women and men who are on hunger and work strike demanding significant, wide-reaching and reasonable changes to the detention policy. The demands of the strikers can be read here: [https://detainedvoices.com/2018/02/25/the-strikers-demands/]
The strikers have requested a meeting with yourself and the rest of the Home Affairs Select Decision before your meeting on Tuesday 20th March 2018 to discuss Serco’s contract with the Home Office. The strikers’ request can be read here: [https://detainedvoices.com/2018/03/14/we-the-yarls-wood-strikers-would-like-to-meet-with-yvette-cooper-chair-of-the-home-affairs-select-committee/]
I am imploring you to follow up on this request and arrange a meeting with the Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers before you meet with Serco. Please discuss the strikers’ demands, the UK’s detention policy and Serco’s role in it, and the conditions in detention centres across the UK.
Please, allow their voices to be heard as they are vital in any assessment of Serco’s role in the immigration detention system.
Please meet with the Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers before your 20 Mar meeting to discuss Serco’s contract with the Home Office! This is their request on changing UK’s detention policy and the conditions in the IRCs: https://detainedvoices.com/2018/03/14/we-the-yarls-wood-strikers-would-like-to-meet-with-yvette-cooper-chair-of-the-home-affairs-select-committee/