Public hearings start 10am Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Hearings begin investigating dehumanising abuse of people held in immigration detention
The Brook House Public Inquiry was set up to investigate disturbing images of people detained indefinitely at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) being mistreated by G4S guards, secretly filmed by the BBC in 2017 The BBC footage depicts high levels of self-harm and abuse that appeared widespread and normalised, ranging from casual and degrading, to extremely violent and life-threatening.
BBC Panorama – “Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets”
Those whose evidence will be heard include our former detained clients regarding their experience of degrading racist, physical and verbal abuse at the hands of G4S staff, as well as those G4S staff and Home Office officials responsible for immigration detention. Issues of corporate and state accountability will be investigated, including the extent to which the Home Office, G4S and others are responsible for what has gone on.
This is the first ever public inquiry into immigration detention in the UK – the first time those responsible for immigration detention at the Home Office have been compelled to hand over evidence, or be witnesses about the incidents under investigation. Unsurprisingly, the Home Office fought against a public inquiry. To secure the Inquiry, formerly detained individuals who were abused had to go to court to force the Home Office, responsible for the abuse, to be accountable.
The Inquiry will reach conclusions with regard to the treatment of people detained where there is credible evidence of inhuman or degrading treatment, or punishment. The Inquiry’s investigations will include whether any clinical care issues caused or contributed to any identified mistreatment.
“Ongoing mistreatment of those detained at Brook House and other IRCs is evident in our casework every day. Many of our clients are extremely vulnerable. Torture survivors can be retraumatised by detention. This can be compounded when they are subjected to ‘control & restraint’ by guards, which is sometimes used even in response to self-harming, agitation and distress. This can be experienced as a terrifying re-enactment of past abuse. Medical Justice clinicians document fresh injuries sustained as a result of the use of force; as well as the psychological impact, which can be lasting.
Our clinicians continue to see catastrophic and systemic failures at Brook House IRC. The wholly inadequate treatment of highly vulnerable people, coupled with an alarming rate of self-harm and suicidality at Brook House IRC right now, means the place is unsafe and should be closed immediately. “
Emma Ginn – Director, Medical Justice
Medical Justice is a small charity that sends volunteer clinicians to assess people held in IRCs across the UK, documenting their scars of torture, serious medical conditions, injuries inflicted by guards, deterioration of health in detention, and instances of medical mistreatment. We assist between 600 and 1,000 people in detention each year. Ever since Medical Justice was established in 2005, we have been providing a constant stream of evidence – week in and week out – of inappropriate detention of vulnerable clients’ and medical mistreatment.
Our evidence is to be heard in the second half of the Inquiry. Medical Justice has intimate knowledge of the failings of Brook House as we spoke to 110 people held there in the Inquiry’s timeframe. Our evidence will comprise a mixture of at least 44 case studies from that time as well as our work with current clients. Medical Justice’s experience is that the failings in 2017 continue to this day.
Available for interview: A former Medical Justice client who was detained at Brook House IRC and a Medical Justice clinician.
Note: Medical Justice is represented by Bhatt Murphy Solicitors who are instructing Shu Shin Luh of Doughty Street Chambers and Stephanie Harrison QC and Laura Profumo of Garden Court Chambers.
About the Inquiry:
- The hearings will commence at 10am on 23 November 2021 and will be held at the Inquiry’s premises within the International Dispute Resolution Centre, 1 Paternoster Lane, London, EC4M 7BQ.
- Hearings can be attended in person. If you wish to attend, please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hearings can also be viewed via the livestream on the Inquiry’s YouTube channel and a transcript will be uploaded to the Inquiry website following each day’s hearings.
- Details of upcoming and previous hearings will be available through the Inquiry’s website.
- Updates on proceedings will also be given via the Inquiry’s social media channels and website. Follow @BrookInquiry on Twitter or check the news section of the website https://brookhouseinquiry.org.uk/news/