UK immigration system has 'lost sight of the human lives at its heart'

“That guards were filmed referring to people for whom they are responsible as "animals" is appalling, but also reflects a system which is treating people like animals” – Steve Symonds

Responding to a  report released today from a cross party-group of MPs which called for an end to the indefinite detention of migrants and to the suspension of two member of staff from the Yarl's Wood detention centre after  a Channel 4 documentary on the centre,  Steve Symonds Amnesty UK’s Refugee and Migrant Programme Director, said:

“It’s clear that the immigration detention system in this country is used, as today's all-party parliamentary group report says, disproportionately and inappropriately.

“Detention should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances, but it’s become the norm. It should also only be used for the shortest possible time, but we know of people who have been languishing in detention centres for years.

“The Channel 4 exposé of Yarl’s Wood gave a grim glimpse of the sort of treatment people locked up in detention are subjected to and it was truly shocking. That guards were filmed referring to people for whom they are responsible as ‘animals’ is appalling, but also reflects a system which is treating people like animals.

“Every year tens of thousands of people are held in these centres for the convenience of the administration of a system that has lost sight of the human lives at its heart.

“The reform of this system, promised today, is long overdue.”

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