Updated 6 January 2023: The Brook House Inquiry: Read the full report.
The evidence received by the Inquiry makes clear, in the view of Medical Justice, that the Home Office is not capable of providing a humane system of immigration detention which respects fundamental rights and is consistent with the health, safety and dignity of those held within it. Troublingly, the recent events at Manston Short-Term Holding Facility provide further stark evidence of this lack of respect and inhumanity. Rather than expanding the use of detention, it should be reduced and phased out.
If administrative detention is to continue at all, its use should be truly an exception rather than routine, and subject to strict statutory criteria and a time limit. This view was widely expressed across all parties giving evidence to the Inquiry13. Like HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMIP), Medical Justice agrees that Brook House – and other prison-like facilities – should never have been used to detain people for administrative purposes. Such places certainly should not now continue to be used to hold persons detained under immigration powers.
Advance briefing on the Brook House Inquiry – 13 December 2022
5 Jan 2023: The Brook House Inquiry (https://brookhouseinquiry.org.uk/) was set up to investigate the mistreatment of people detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) revealed in the 2017 BBC Panorama programme “Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets”. The Chair of the Inquiry, Kate Eves, is expected to publish her final report in the new year (2023).
In advance of this, the APPG on Immigration Detention held a session that brought together key contributors to the Inquiry to discuss the main issues and evidence that have come to light.
Speakers included: Mishka – Allies for Justice; Dr Rachel Bingham – Medical Justice; Stephanie Harrison KC – Garden Court Chambers; Callum Tulley – BBC
Undercover footage aired in the Panorama programme exposed how highly vulnerable people deteriorated in detention, and how their distress was responded to with incidents of physical violence, pervasive derogatory and violent verbal abuse, and racism to them or about them. It showed a normalisation of the infliction of pain, suffering and humiliation, and an underlying lack of empathy, even in life-threatening situations.
As well as investigating the events in question, the Inquiry has received evidence on broader systemic concerns about the detention regime, including how persistent failures in the safeguarding of vulnerable people led to desensitisation, dehumanisation and a culture of disbelief. Recent events at Manston Short-Term Holding Facility, Harmondsworth IRC, Brook House IRC and elsewhere show that such problems remain as alarming and relevant as ever.
Please be aware: due to the focus of the Brook House Inquiry, the video involves reference to materials of a sensitive and distressing nature. This includes discussion and video footage of incidents of racism, offensive language, physical violence towards detained people and suicide.
1 July 2019: About APPG Immigration Detention:
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Immigration Detention brings together over 40 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum who share concerns about the use of immigration detention in the UK.
The group aims to raise awareness within Parliament about immigration detention and its impacts. It offers MPs and Peers opportunities to debate issues with relevant experts from outside Parliament, including people with lived experience of detention, as well as lawyers, medical professionals, academics and representatives from non-profit organisations.
Using the information gathered through its work, the APPG advocates for evidence-based reforms to immigration detention policy, and for the welfare of detainees.
This is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the group.
Current members: https://appgdetention.org.uk/about/current-members/