Northern Ireland: Amnesty Condemns Treatment of Asylum Seekers

Amnesty International has condemned the treatment of asylum seekers in Northern Ireland, after a report from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons revealed that asylum detainees are being held in poorly equipped PSNI cells, handcuffed while being transported to detention centres in Britain and not given access to proper legal advice.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:

“Amnesty International has been campaigning for years to stop asylum seekers in Northern Ireland being treated like criminals. While we won the battle to stop them being locked up in prisons like Maghaberry, this report shows that they are still being treated as if they are guilty of some crime. Perhaps the Home Office needs to be reminded that these individuals are not criminals. All too often, they are fleeing desperate human rights situations in countries like Iraq and Zimbabwe and come here to assert their legal right to refuge.

"This report reveals utterly unacceptable standards of treatment. Amnesty International will be raising our concerns with the Home Office and we will expect to see an urgent improvement in the way asylum seekers are treated."

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