Colnbrook Detention Centre Hunger Strike
There is a hunger strike going on in Colnbrook Detention Centre in response to attacks on detainees on Saturday after a solidarity demonstration outside. One (very sick) man has been put in segregation after being identified (wrongly) by Serco staff to be the 'leader' of the protest.
A letter in today's Independent reads
"Better to starve than
return to Zimbabwe
Sir: We Zimbabwean detainees are undertaking a hunger strike to protest against oppression wherever it happens throughout the world, but especially for our fellow countrymen currently being detained in various detention centres throughout the United Kingdom.
We have fled from Zimbabwe because we were persecuted by our own government and many of us have endured dreadful ordeals, pain and mental and physical torture. We came to the United Kingdom seeking help and freedom from our suffering.
Instead of this we have been incarcerated and been made to feel like criminals. Our greatest fear is that we will be returned to our country, where the situation has deteriorated gravely and where we will face the worst kind of oppression imaginable because we have dared to flee and seek help here.
Attempts of forcible removal by the authorities here are evidenced by our damaged limbs and bruises as well as the scars on our wrists from the handcuffs when force was used in efforts to make us board planes against our will. Most of us now bear these wounds inflicted on us right here in the United Kingdom.
We have now vowed to forgo all food until our voice is heard with compassion and understanding. It would be better for us to starve to death than be removed back to Zimbabwe, where there will be no mercy for us.
We ask the Home Office to release us from detention and to grant us asylum so we can become a part of society rather than an excluded group of people who are outcasts wherever we go.
SHADRECK GUMBO, BLESSINGS CHIMBERENGA, LAST MTENGWA, NQABUTHO V MABUYA, LEONARD MAZIVENHANSA, CLINT SANDERSON, FRANCIS ROBERT ASMA, GRAHAM JOHN RUMANO, KHUMALO S CEDRIC, CHATIMA GAVIN, CLAUD MZWANDILE, MAKONIWA SITHOLE, THEMBANI NKOMO
COLNBROOK IMMIGRATION REMOVAL CENTRE AND HARMONDSWORTH DETENTION CENTRE WEST DRAYTON, MIDDLESEX" (here)
Detainees on hunger strike desperately need visits this week (you can phone detainees or support them in other ways). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help provide solidarity.
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