Dungavel detainees go on hunger strike


​Concern over week-long hunger strike at Dungavel Detention Centre 

19th March 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Dozens of detainees at Scotland’s only immigration removal centre are thought to have gone on hunger strike.

Refugees at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre are believed to be protesting against conditions as well as the time limit they can be held.

Organisations from across civil society – including the Scottish Trades Union Congress and Church of Scotland – are demanding access to the premises to meet with the protesters.

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: "The STUC and other Scottish civil society organisations we have contacted are very concerned at reports of large numbers of detainees refusing food at the Dungavel Detention Centre.

"It is unclear whether this is a response to conditions in the centre, or wider issues relating to the asylum system, or both.

"But what is clear is that the decision to refuse food reflects a level of desperation which must be investigated - the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable.

"The STUC, with the support of the Church of Scotland and the Conforti Institute has requested permission for an urgent collective meeting with detainees and written today to this effect to the home secretary and the centre manager at Dungavel."

The UK is the only country in the EU which has no cap on how long people can be detained under immigration powers.

Scotland has no jurisdiction over immigration policy with powers reserved to Westminster.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "Detention is only ever used as a last resort, and for the shortest time possible, after all attempts to encourage individuals to leave voluntarily have failed."