Treatment of Women in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre

Women for Refugee Women have published a depressing report on conditions in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre, which houses immigrants who are either waiting to have their claims assessed, or – more often – waiting to be removed after their claims have been unsuccessful. It’s not clear that detaining people as if they were criminals is an appropriate course of action. The government has repeatedly come under fire from refugee organisations for detaining people who are survivors of sexual abuse, pregnant women, and children (to name just three groups). But even setting that issue aside, it is abundantly clear that detained people should be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately – and no doubt, unsurprisingly, given what we know about human nature, power and corruption – that isn’t happening. According to the report, women detainees have been racially abused. There are some reports of sexual assault. The women are also repeatedly humiliated by male guards who watch them in intimate situations such as showering, being on the toilet, dressing, and so on. If you think this is unacceptable, you might write to your MP about it. Or drop a line to the Minister for Secuirty and Immigration, who is currently James Brokenshire.