Sunday 20th November 2022
We are saddened and enraged that a man has died after being held in the squalid Manston detention camp. Reports suggest that after an initial stay in hospital he was discharged to Manston where his health significantly deteriorated. Despite this, it seems that he was kept for several days – far longer than the legal limit of 24 hours – in a ‘medical bay’ at Manston before being returned to a hospital the day before he died. By then it was perhaps too late.
A mother has lost a precious son. Family and friends still don’t know that he died in the so-called “care” of a racist, brutal and hostile immigration regime. The government intends poor living conditions to act as a deterrent to people crossing the Channel. This was therefore not an accident – and many more vulnerable people seeking safety are at risk.
This first death was entirely foreseeable. There is copious evidence that Manston is not fit for human habitation and falls far below even minimum standards for accommodation, healthcare and the safeguarding. The camp should have closed a long time ago – in fact it should never have been opened. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that Suella Braverman and the Home Office have blood on their hands.
The state routinely lies and spreads misinformation after deaths in custody. We need to know the truth about who this man was and how he came to die. We need the IOPC and other investigating authorities to immediately release all the information they currently have. His family needs compensation. Justice cannot be left to the state or to organisations like the IOPC which are notorious for withholding information and delaying and obstructing accountability processes.
After our visit to Manston earlier this month, media attention and public outrage peaked. Large numbers of detainees were then released to detention centres, hotels, and other undisclosed locations, or to street homelessness. Despite this reduction in numbers, clearly nothing changed in the policy and practice of care for those at Manston. Whether it’s 1,600 or 4,000 people inside, Manston is neither safe nor humane for people who have crossed the Channel. One death is a death too many. We’ve said from the beginning: this camp needs to be shut down, those crossing the Channel need to be welcomed properly, housed in the community and given the resources they need to build a new life.
Action Against Detention and Deportations is a coalition of anti-border groups, including SOAS Detainee Support, Global Women Against Deportations, Migrants Organise, Global Justice Now and others. We stand against deportations and detention as tools of hate, division, and a racist state.
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Action Against Detention and Deportations
Email: SOAS Detainee Support email@example.com
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