Young People

23 November 2021: Guardian: Performative cruelty’: UK treatment of refugees worst ever, says charity

Kent Refugee Action Network says young people arriving on south coast are a benefit, not a problem

On a windswept, bitingly cold day in Folkestone a discreet green portable building is a beacon of welcome on a stretch of the south coast patrolled by Border Force boats and self-proclaimed migrant hunters on the far right.

Inside its cheerfully decorated walls are workers from Kent Refugee Action Network. The organisation has supported young asylum seekers who arrive on the south coast for more than two decades.

Despite the plummeting temperatures and supposedly enhanced border patrols along the French coast, people continue to head for Kent’s shores in unseaworthy small boats.

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Plans to open ‘prison-style’ immigration camp on site of former Medomsley Detention Centre

Updated 23 November 2021: Re: Hassockfield/Consett/Derwentside immigration detention centre to house women will open by the end of 2021!

iNews: As migrant channel crossings hit a new record, insiders says centres like Yarl’s Wood can never be humane

For 20 years, Yarl’s Wood has been holding asylum seekers without time limits. Now a controversial new centre is replacing it to hold women. Is it time to call an end to detention?

Agnes Tanoh still remembers the fear of being taken into Yarl’s Wood, nearly a decade on. “You walk through the gates,” says the 65-year-old Ivorian refugee, “and the tunnel you take to reach the first office destroys your mind. I thought, ‘I am going somewhere I may never leave.’”

It was March 2012 when Tanoh was arrested and taken to the notorious immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire. After the disturbing ordeal of fleeing her home country the previous year, with her life at risk, she was incarcerated indefinitely as she awaited news of her fate.

“You haven’t defended yourself at trial,” she explains. “Being taken to a detention centre is being given a sentence without a time limit. It can be one week, three months, one year – you don’t know. Detention breaks families and causes distress and trauma.”

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