Standing up for vulnerable detainees. Medical Justice AGM 2017. Join us and our exciting line up of speakers on the 18th of July at Garden Court Chambers. For more detail
Invitation to the Medical Justice AGM
Tuesday 18th July 2017
Garden Court Chambers
57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ
Standing up for vulnerable detainees
At a time when the new Home Office Adults at Risk policy purporting to give better protection to vulnerable immigration detainees is actually resulting in detention of more vulnerable detainees for longer periods of time we will address ;
– The situation of vulnerable detainees our volunteer doctors visit
– The Medical Justice’s experience of the Home Office’s “Adults at Risk” policy
– What next for standing up for vulnerable detainees – possibilities.
*** Dr Liz Clarke – volunteer doctor visiting detainees
*** Stephanie Harrison QC – barrister with experience of these cases
*** Theresa Schleicher – Medical Justice Casework Manager
*** Ex-detainee – first hand experience of being vulnerable in immigration detention
*** Martha Spurrier – Director, Liberty
6.30pm – AGM Business
6.45pm – Speakers
8.00pm – Drinks and nibbles
Travel expenses reimbursed on production of a receipt for those unable to work due to immigration control
To book a place – please email email@example.com
Background : In response to mounting criticism, the government commissioned Steven Shaw, an ex Prison & Probation Ombudsman, to carry out an independent review of the welfare of vulnerable detainees. This found that safeguards for vulnerable people were inadequate and that overall detention was used too frequently and for too long. The recommendations were broadly accepted by the government. Ministers promised “significant and transformative” change. The new “adults at risk” policy was implemented to identify and release vulnerable detainees from detention.
The Home Office changed the definition of torture used in the new adults at risk policy whereby many victims of non-state actors, including some persecuted for discriminatory reason based on their sexuality, gender, race or religion and victims of human trafficking, were no longer treated as torture victims. Additionally, the AAR policy requires detainees to provide evidence that detention is likely to cause them harm. Not only does the policy lack effective mechanisms for obtaining such evidence, it also weakens already inadequate safeguards, and encourages a ‘wait and see’ approach whereby vulnerable people are detained and allowed to deteriorate until avoidable harm has occurred and can be documented. As such, the policy effectively sanctions harm to vulnerable detainees.
The Home Office has already admitted that the policy was unlawfully applied by caseworkers in at least 57% of 340 cases in its initial 10 weeks of implementation, describing that as a “bedding down” issue. However, Medical Justice believes that this is indicative of a back tracking on the promises made after the Shaw Review which has fundamentally undermined the adequacy of the AAR policy. Although the policy purports to lessen the risk of harm to vulnerable detainees, it is actually likely to increase it. The policy leads to more rather than fewer being detained, for longer. We question how IRCs, and the health care centers within, can continue to operate whilst the Home Office seems unable to protect the welfare of detainees in its care.
Medical Justice and 7 ex-detainees judicially reviewed aspects of the new policy. The judgment is pending – we hope it will be available by the time the AGM takes place.