The No to Hassockfield campaign has informed North East Bylines that this week a group of women will be taken from the former Hassockfield Detention Centre – now renamed Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre to an unidentified airport – to be deported on a flight leaving UK for Nigeria on 29 June.
This is not a flight to Rwanda, but it is equally cruel. Deportation flights for “foreign national offenders”, as Priti Patel has observed, are routine. However, the picture of these deportees as violent criminals deserving to be shipped out is not one you could apply to the women detained in Derwentside – by any stretch of the imagination. This seems to be the first time Derwentside has been involved.
Is it the beginning of the end for Derwentside?
Also, this week on Tuesday 28 June a challenge in the courts mounted by the charity Women for Refugee Women (WfRW) against the Home Office will be heard in London. Its basis is Derwentside IRC’s failure to provide adequate legal aid to the women detained there (it seems around 40 women right now but numbers change all the time as they are moved around between facilities). Currently there are NO legal aid firms in County Durham able to take on such work. WfRW will argue this is a cause for closure.
You can find our more about the legal challenge and how you can help here.
In addition to the monthly Saturday demonstrations held at the IRC gates, campaigners from different groups will be at Derwentside IRC this week from 26 June onwards, to show solidarity with women who have received removal orders for the Nigeria deportation flight.
Who are No to Hassockfield?
No to Hassockfield is a cross-party group of concerned people who are passionate about immigration and detention issues and who are determined to close down Hassockfield Immigration Removal Centre, now renamed Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre. They continue to campaign tirelessly to this end.
North West Durham MP, Richard Holden, has supported the detention centre whilst City of Durham MP, Mary Kelly Foy, has consistently opposed it.
You can find out more about No to Hassockfield on the links below.