Yarl’s Wood: Learning the lessons

JCWI, Jim Duffy 13 January 2011

Reetha Suppiah and Sakinat Bello and their young families are typical of the hundreds of recent victims of our immigration detention system. Over the course of their time in Britain, they have integrated into our society and formed significant ties to it. After years of fear and violence in their home countries, they were able to live in a comparatively peaceful environment, reporting regularly to the authorities.

Dawn raid

Then, one February morning, their homes were raided by teams of UK Border Agency officials. Danahar, Reetha’s eleven year-old son, assumed that he had done something wrong and that he was being taken away by “policemen” in the dawn raid. Sakinat’s two year-old daughter, Ewa, was lifted from her bed whilst still asleep and awoke in the arms of a uniformed stranger. Continue reading “Yarl’s Wood: Learning the lessons”

The 2010 Paul Foot award shortlist – detention of children

I’ve had the pleasure of reading all the entries for this year’s campaigning journalism award, and here are the shortlisted journalists

One of my pleasures for the past few years has been to read all the entries for the Paul Foot award – and there were nearly 50 this year – and to draw up a longlist for the judging session chaired by Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye. It is always a cheering experience, giving the lie to any impression that investigative journalism is no longer so important to contemporary editors as it was in the days, decades ago, when the Sunday Times was exposing the Thalidomide scandal.

This year’s shortlist speaks for itself. Paul Foot would have approved. The six entries expose MPs seeking cash for influence (“I’m like a cab for hire”, Stephen Byers); the continuing existence of paupers’ graves in London; phone-hacking by the News of the World when Andy Coulson, now the government’s director of communications, was editor; the coverup of the British army’s actions on Bloody Sunday; the scandal of the detention of asylum seekers’ children; and show that DNA tests are not always accurate. Continue reading “The 2010 Paul Foot award shortlist – detention of children”