SDS is Recruiting

SOAS Detainee Support attempts to break the isolation of immigration detention, and supports people to take control of their cases and resist their imprisonment and deportation.  Our vision is a world with no borders or incarceration.

We are currently recruiting two part-time coordinators to facilitate the group’s support for individuals in immigration detention, and strengthen the group’s impact in challenging the current immigration and detention system.

Each role is 14 hours per week, paid £12ph, fixed term for 12 months. We are recruiting for two positions, one starting late June (approximately 22nd June) and the other late September.

The application pack with details on how to apply can be found here.

Deadline for applications is 6PM Friday, 8th May, 2020. 

If you have any questions or accessibility needs you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to email us on s.det.sup.jobs@gmail.com 

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Detained Voices in a time of Corona

There is no social distancing here

Can you tell me about your experience of detention?

I have been in Brook House detention centre for 16 months. I came from prison. I thought I was going to be released but then they brought me here to brook house. I was given a mobile phone, there was a tv and so everything felt better at the start. And then after 6 months I started getting bored and I start stressing about my life and day by day.

3 months ago in November, I had been a year. I started tripping. My hand started sweating, I couldn’t sleep and I felt hot. There was something I hadn’t felt before. I couldn’t get the thoughts of getting me out of this place out of my head. It was like this one year of detention was building up in my head, and exploded in my mind. It was the sort of experience I had never had before. It was something in me that felt like that. I tried everything, sleeping on the floor but nothing was working. They gave me paracetamol and some medicine called calms. And since that day, I am not the same person. Now small things really get to me. My short term memory is shot. Some old term memory is cloudy and dazy.

Link to full piece:There is no social distancing here

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RELEASE XXI FUNDRAISER PARTY

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if I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!

Come and join SDS for our annual fundraiser and party for free movement. Tickets available now: https://soasdetaineesupport.eventsmart.com/events/release-xxi/

Line up

POETS
Sam Siva
brother portrait

PERFORMERS
Sam Dotia
Jelly Cleaver
XANA
NFLM

DJs
Lumi
Samboleap
JLTE

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Practical Info
When: 23rd November 7.30pm – 3am
Where: Arcola Theatre, Dalston E8 3DL
Free for those affected by detention / asylum regime
Tickets will be £4-£12+
If you can afford a solidarity ticket please do buy one!
Nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds- please get in touch with s.det.sup@gmail.com or book a free ticket using the link above.
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Beautiful, limited edition SDS merch will be sold throughout the night. all proceeds will go to us!
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The venue is wheelchair accessible, and a safer spaces policy will be in place on the night

SDS buddies will be easily identifiable on the night to support with anything that makes you feel uncomfortable/unsafe – or just if you’re coming alone and want a friendly face to welcome you

The venue has (some) gender neutral toilets.

If you have any other access needs you want to discuss, get in touch on s.det.sup@gmail.com

#NoBordersNoNations

#EndDetention

SDS is recruiting!

SOAS Detainee Support attempts to break the isolation of immigration detention, and supports people to take control of their cases and resist their imprisonment and deportation.  Our vision is a world with no borders or incarceration.

We are currently recruiting two part-time coordinators to facilitate the group’s support for individuals in immigration detention, and strengthen the group’s impact in challenging the current immigration and detention system.

This role is 14 hours per week, paid £12ph, fixed term for 12 months.

Job description and person specification can be found here.

To apply, please email s.det.sup.jobs@gmail.com with your CV and a cover letter detailing how you meet the person specification. The letter should be no more than 2 pages long.

Deadline for applications is 6PM Monday, 13th May, 2019. 

If you have any questions or accessibility needs you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to email us on s.det.sup.jobs@gmail.com.

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“The Stansted 15 refused to say, “there’s nothing else we can do.” Instead, they did everything within their power to stop the charter flight”

The woman on the other end of the phone breaks down. She is crying too much for me to understand everything she’s saying, but I can clearly hear the words, “please, help me.”

“I’m so sorry,” I tell her, “there’s nothing else we can do.”

I have to say these words to people every week as they are forced onto planes that will fly them to places where they fear death, persecution, violence and destitution. These are often countries where detainees haven’t been for years or decades, or even in their living memory.

I work for SOAS detainee support, a small organisation that visits and supports people in immigration detention. I speak to people on a daily basis with different stories and different fears, but they all face the same crushing conditions of detention with the added exhausting struggle of fighting to remain in the UK.

Five years ago, an asylum seeker named Isa Muazu began a hunger strike at Harmondsworth detention centre. He faced deportation to Nigeria, where he feared he would be killed by Boko Haram. He maintained his hunger strike for three months, until he was so weakened that his organs began to shut down.

We organised a candlelight vigil calling for Isa’s release. It was December and the hot wax from our candles burned our freezing hands as we gathered outside the Home Office. We read out too many names of those who had been killed, or taken their own lives in immigration detention, and those who were in contact with Isa talked about his story, and his determination to resist his removal.

A few days later, Isa was forced onto a flight and removed from the UK. We felt powerless, angry and heartbroken. We had worked as hard as we could. There was nothing else we could have done, we told each other.

These words seem to echo louder each time I’ve had to repeat them over the years. But honestly, they aren’t strictly true. Because if that person were my mother, brother, or my friend, wouldn’t I try to put my body in the way of their forced removal from this country?

The Stansted 15 refused to say, “there’s nothing else we can do.” Instead, they accepted an inconvenient truth and they did everything within their power to stop people being flown to what they had every reason to believe was their deaths. Yesterday, after spending the last ten weeks in court facing a charge which carries a potential life sentence, they were found guilty under terror legislation of endangering an airport, despite no harm being caused to anyone by their actions.

They calmly walked up to the parked plane that would deport around 60 people to Nigeria and Ghana and locked themselves around the front wheel, and around a tripod behind the wing.

Because of their protest, 11 people are still in the UK today who would have been removed on that flight, four have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism for people who have been victims of human trafficking, and one person has been granted leave to remain.

The vast majority of the people I talk to in detention are afraid and confused. With severely limited access to information or adequate legal advice, there are innumerable barriers to people winning their fights to stay.

The UK is the only country in Europe to allow indefinite detention. Along with being separated from friends and family, the fear of being removed, and the abuses suffered in detention, the psychological pressure that this puts on detainees is devastating.There were two suicide attempts every day in UK detention centres this summer.

Others that I speak to are outraged and justifiably angry and, like the women in Yarl’s Wood who have been on hunger strike for the second time this year, are determined to fight the abuses of the immigration system from inside detention.

Sometimes, our visitors are lucky enough to see the people they are supporting be successful in their fight to remain in the UK. Too often, the barriers to success are insurmountable and the friendships that have built up between visitors and people in detention are abruptly ended by removal.

Recently, we began visiting a young Kurdish man from Iraq. Both his parents had been killed and he was certain the same would happen to him if he had remained at home. He was attempting to gather evidence to add the weight of paperwork to his testimony. Before he could do this, he was dragged from detention and forced on to a plane headed for Baghdad. We called and called to try to make contact with him, but the line was dead. And the visitors who were supporting him are still left wracked by questions about whether there was anything else we could have done.

The Stansted 15 looked our rotten immigration system in the eye and exercised the power they had to stop an injustice against the people on that flight. Not everyone is able to take that kind of action, and it seems clear to me that the decision to use terrorism legislation in this case was an attempt to make this form of civil disobedience even harder. But, after watching my friends politely argue for their freedom from the dock, the words “there’s nothing else we can do” are becoming harder and harder to say.

Written by Maddy Evans, current SDS coordinator. Originally posted on Independent Voices: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/stansted-15-trial-guilty-verdict-deportation-flight-airport-immigration-law-detentions-a8677811.html?amp&__twitter_impression=true

Closing Yarl’s Wood and Brook House is a welcome step forward.

Diane Abbott’s proposal to close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House and end outsourcing in immigration detention provision is a welcome step forward in Labour Party policy. The announcement comes following a mass protest in Yarl’s Wood and a Panorama documentary that included undercover footage of appalling conditions in detention and abuse inflicted on detainees.

Although Yarl’s Wood and Brook House have become lightning-rods for immigration detention controversy, they differ little from other detention centres. 43 people have died in immigration detention since it started, including 4 people in Morton Hall (Lincolnshire) in 2017 alone. Colnbrook near Heathrow has one of the harshest regimes within the detention estate where people are locked in cells from 9pm to 8am. Harmondsworth, also near Heathrow, is the biggest detention centre in Europe and was the site of mass protests in 2014 and 2015, and there have been similar protests in Campsfield and Dungavel.

The problem cannot be associated with individual places of detention. It lies with a policy that gives the Home Office licence to lock people up based on their nationality, and a society that turns a blind eye to the inevitable violence dealt out on working class people of colour in any system designed for mass deportation.

Closing down Yarl’s Wood and Brook House would be an important step but it must be done within a wider policy that takes detention out of the immigration system altogether.