This report was published after Medical Justice had assisted its first 500 clients. Medical Justice doctors recorded their findings on examining the first 56 consecutive cleints treated in a six month period in four UK detention centres, before, or shortly after, their release.
The report was written for the parliamentary launch of Medical Justice, hosted by Lord Ramsbotham.
“Medical Justice has been in existence for almost two years and has grown faster than anyone envisaged. It owes its existence entirely to the extraordinary generosity of everyone involved in working with it. It is an organisation built on people’s kindness to others and on a shared belief in human dignity and freedom.
Medical Justice’s work relies on a unique and exciting collaboration between asylum seekers, ex-detainees, solicitors, barristers, doctors, nurses, campaigners, detention centre visitors and other volunteers.
In my work with Medical Justice as a barrister, my experience has been that a culture has evolved in which people held in detention centres are perceived as having less value than those with legal rights to be in this country. Many detainees describe a feeling of being treated like “nothing” or like “dirt”. Such a perception is hurtful to those involved and it violates their dignity as human beings. But the problem is not only that people in detention are perceived as being of less value, it is that they also come to be treated as such.
All of those who work with detainees share experiences of neglect, discrimination and abuse on a scale that is saddening and frightening. I see Medical Justice’s work as reminding ourselves that we must treat all people with equal value, not just for those people’s sakes, but for the sake of our society.” – Alex Goodman, Chair of Medical Justice