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Unlocking Detention tour to “shine a spotlight” on immigration detention


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A “virtual tour” of the immigration detention estate, which promises to shine a spotlight on the hidden world of immigration detention, launched last week and runs until 18 December. The Unlocking Detention campaign uses social media to bring the UK’s immigration removal centres to public attention.

The tour will include tweets, blogs, videos and online question and answer sessions from detainees, volunteer visitors and campaigners. Each week covers a different area of the immigration estate:

  • 29 October to 4 November – Brook and Tinsley House IRCs
  • 5 November to 11 November – Short term holding facilities and prisons
  • 12 November to 18 November – Yarl’s Wood IRC
  • 19 November to 25 November – Campsfield IRC
  • 26 November to 2 December – Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs
  • 3 December to 9 December – Morton Hall IRC
  • 10 December to 16 December – Dungavel IRC
  • 17 December and 18 December – Final week and International Migrants Day

The tour is organised by the Detention Forum, a coalition of groups that campaigns against immigration detention. Its director, Eiri Ohtani, says that in the five years since the first Unlocking Detention tour the issue has gained much more prominence in political debate:

We have two committees (Home Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights) conducting inquiries into immigration detention. Written Questions about detention are being asked almost daily. Just last week, I went to two parliamentary meetings where immigration detention was discussed. It has become such a hot topic that most of the political parties now include pledges to end indefinite detention in their election manifestos. This shift is huge.

Those interested can follow the tour on the Unlocking Detention website or by searching the hashtag #Unlocked18.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.