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Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Detained Lives campaign

Indefinite detention is one of the most important civil liberties issues in the UK today. People in immigration detention are often detained for closer to 42 months than the 42 days maximum which was considered excessive for terrorist suspects. They are not serving criminal sentences, and if they were British they would have been released.

Their treatment is unfair and grossly disproportionate.

The Detained Lives campaign, led by London Detainee Support Group, calls for a just and rational detention policy:

1) An end to indefinite detention. Britain is one of the only developed countries with no limit to how long it can detain immigrants. We call for the UK to adopt a maximum time limit of 28 days in detention, as is the policy in France.

2) An end to automatic detention. The presumption of liberty is a cornerstone of British law, but it has been overturned for certain types of people from outside the European Union. Detention should be limited to where it is absolutely necessary for an imminent deportation.

3) A fair and transparent system of review of detention. Detainees should automatically have an independent review of their detention every month.

4) Community-based alternatives to detention should be used. Sweden and Australia have successfully introduced systems for monitoring immigrants without detaining them. They are far cheaper and provide greater respect for civil liberties.

5) Stateless people should be granted permanent leave to remain. This is in line with international law and the position of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Detained Lives roadshows: national tour

The Detained Lives campaign will be going on tour around the UK in 2010. Roadshows in cities across the country will spread the word that indefinite immigration detention is a reality.

The roadshows will feature ex-detainees speaking from direct personal experience about what it is to lose liberty indefinitely, and how the practice can be challenged. Showings of the “1000 Voices” film short, produced in 2009 by the social justice media group Ctrl+Alt+Shift in collaboration with LDSG and current detainees, will give a graphic glimpse of a Kafkaesque world. Watch the trailer below:

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