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.
Welcome to #Unlocked18 week 2, which focuses on Brook House & Tinsley House #detention centres just outside Gatwick Airport. Over the next 7 days we’ll be explaining more about what it’s like for people held indefinitely in these grim places and why radical #reform is needed now pic.twitter.com/41H11uHqmA
— TheDetentionForum (@DetentionForum) October 29, 2018
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.