Call for action over fate of detainees
Inter-faith campaigners call for a time limit over how long UK can detain asylum seekers
Charity René Cassin co-ordinated the gathering, on July 5, next to the largest immigration deten-tion centre in Europe, as part of the Time for a time limit campaign. The UK is the only European country not to have a time limit on how long immigrants can be detained.
Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, of the Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, said: “As a rabbi of a Hillingdon synagogue, I feel strongly we cannot ignore the injustice happening on our doorstep. Indefinite detention is a direct insult to Jewish morals.”
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell joined the discussion at the inter-faith tent on the moor. He said: “British people would not support the system if they knew what it was like.”
The programme included the first-hand testimony of former detainees, and inter-faith teachings and discussions.
Michael from Freed Voices, a group of former detainees held in the UK, said: “Detention is an affront to the human, moral values, at the heart of all religious faiths. Muslim, Christian, Jewish – whatever you are or wherever you are from, detention affects us all.
“It ruins lives and destroys communities.”
Those gathered took part in the breaking of the fast, as the day fell within the Muslim fast of Ramadan and the Jewish fast of the 17th of Tammuz.
Rev Kevin McDonald said: “These people, many of whom have survived war, trauma and persecution, experience severe distress and loss of dignity while they wait for asylum claims to be processed.
“The people in Harmondsworth may only be 200 metres away, but in terms of the rights every human deserves – they are a million miles away.”
n CALL FOR ACTION: People of Faith gathered in Harmondsworth Moor nature reserve to show solidarity with Harmondsworth detainess Photo by Jon Mikol www.buya phototms.co.uk