The UK’s Green MEPs are marking World Refugee Day by calling for an immediate end to the UK’s immigration detention centres and demanding more humane policies across the EU. In a joint statement the MEPs said:
“Greens in the European Parliament are using World Refugee Day to call for an end to the detention of asylum seekers and refugees, a campaign led by organisations such as These Walls Must Fall. There have been continuous revelations about the bullying, racism and violence asylum seekers endure in detention centres, such as Brook House near Gatwick Airport.
“It is totally unjustifiable to lock people up indefinitely simply because they do not yet have the correct paperwork. Incarcerating 30,000 people in appalling conditions is shameful and does not reflect the generous spirit of the British people. It’s also a colossal waste of money – the £125 million a year should be spend helping those fleeing war and hardship, rather than harming them.
“Currently some asylum seekers in the UK – those who passed through another safe country before entering the UK – are held indefinitely, a practice which has been deemed unlawful by senior judges.
“Greens in the European Parliament put forward an initiative calling on EU governments to stop criminalising humanitarian assistance to desperate refugees. They have also led calls for a more humane refugee policy across the EU, such as the introduction of ‘humanitarian visas’. This policy was adopted by the European Parliament despite attempts by Conservative MEPs to vote it down.
“On this of all days, we condemn the practice of detention of those whose only ‘crime’ is to flee persecution and seek safety.”
Molly also praised the many South West organisations that support refugees and asylum seekers and their rights, such as Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol City of Sanctuary, Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) and Swindon Harbour Project. She said:
“The South West has a proud history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers. This World Refugee Day, let’s honour the brilliant organisations across the region standing up for their rights and pledge to fight for a more humane system; one that we can feel proud of rather than ashamed of.”