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Home | Friday 22nd August 2008 | Issue 643

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"Without any reason we are being held here and they are trying to deport us to the most dangerous country in the world. We want people to listen to us. We are refusing all food and water and we will keep going. It is better to be dead than to return to Iraq." - Fazzel Abdul, Kurdish detainee spokesperson.

Thirteen Kurdish detainees at Campsfield immigration detention centre ended their 9 day hunger strike last Thursday (14th). The Kurds went on strike in order to bring an end to the forced return of refugees to Iraq (see SchNEWS 627) and the inhumane conditions inside the centre. Throughout their ordeal the hunger strikers had to face violence and verbal abuse from Campsfield's guards, and have received inadequate medical treatment.

The original demonstrators were joined by more than fifty detainees from many other countries (including Iran, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and the Congo), all victims of the UK's repressive and racist asylum system. During their week-long protest one refugee managed to get on the roof of the detention centre.

The point being made took on added urgency on August 10th when one Kurdish refugee, Hussein Ali, committed suicide following his expulsion from the UK to Iraq. He had lived in the UK for 6 years, but was forcefully deported after 50 days in detention. His was the second suicide by forcefully deported Iraqis this year. Over 500 people have been deported to Northern Iraq since the Home Office struck a deal with the Kurdish government there.

There have been protests both inside and outside the camp pretty much since it opened in 1993. It has been condemned in government reports and the subject of riots and breakouts (SchNEWS 580, 636). Join the fight to shut it down.

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