A detainee died in Morton Hall immigration removal centre yesterday – the third to die in immigration detention in the last three weeks. Their deaths follow undercover video footage earlier this month of a guard threatening to kill a detainee whilst throttling him and how a nurse simply stood by.
“Our volunteer doctors have seen a disturbing level of medical mistreatment and lack of care in immigration detention. Year after year investigations into deaths reveal ongoing systemic healthcare failings and we fear that as long as these continue, there will be more deaths.
The Home Office is responsible for the body-count; all deaths in detention are avoidable as immigration detention is optional.
Detainees are terrified by the conditions in which they are held and that other detainees are dying. They should all be released immediately.” Medical Justice spokesperson
The BBC Panorama footage depicted assault, denial of medical care, and a culture of extreme abuse by staff of vulnerable detainees. The footage appears to vindicate what detainees have reported they have been subjected to for years and what Medical Justice has been documenting for a decade.
There seems to have been a recent increase in number of deaths in immigration detention. Medical Justice has documented deaths since 2000. The death toll since then of those who died in immigration detention or shortly after release now stands at 43.
Medical Justice sends volunteer doctors to visit immigration detainee to document scars of torture and challenge instances of medical mistreatment. Safeguards aimed at identifying and dealing appropriately with vulnerable immigration detainees have failed on many occasions.
The High Court has found a number of cases of “inhuman and degrading treatment” and inquests have found neglect contributing to deaths in immigration detention.
Emma Ginn, director, Medical Justice
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