Medical Justice gives oral evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on handling of Covid-19 in IRCs
On Tuesday the 3rd of February Theresa Schleicher of Medical Justice gave oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee – “How is the Home Office managing IRCs and asylum accommodation during Covid-19?”
“Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, we have highlighted the particular risks to physical and mental health that Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) present during a pandemic – both to those who are detained, to staff and to the wider community. As detention has continued to be used throughout the pandemic, there have been Covid-19 outbreaks in IRCs and detainees have had to self-isolate or be isolated due to the risks from Covid-19 while in detention.”
Scroll down to view clips from the committee session and follow the link to download the full sumbission from Medical Justice.
Home Office weakens protections against detention for potential victims of trafficking
Today the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee will be discussing the Statutory Instrument that will bring into force an amended version of the Statutory Guidance on Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention which will take effect from 25 May 2021.
We are concerned that the changes will weaken the protections against detention afforded to potential victims of trafficking (PVoTs) – a group recognised by the government as being particularly vulnerable to suffering harm in detention.
We believe the changes will result in more PVoTs being detained and for longer periods of time. This outcome appears to directly contravene the government’s stated policy aim of bringing about “a reduction in the number of vulnerable people detained and a reduction in the duration of detention before removal”
You can read the evidence that has been jointly compiled for the Committee by Medical Justice, Anti-Slavery International, After Exploitation, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Focus on Labour Exploitation, Freedom from Torture, and the Helen Bamber Foundation.
“The UK has positive obligations to support survivors of trafficking and prevent exploitation and we should be doing everything we can to design a system that does just that.”
“These changes are a step backwards for the UK as more victims of trafficking will be at risk of being detained or held in detention for longer periods of time and correspondingly, more individuals scared to come forward for help. The changes serve the interests of perpetrators, not survivors and not the UK’s attempts to stop modern slavery.”
The Committee meeting is available to watch here>>