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Immigration Row: Lankan 'treated like an animal'

11 September 2015 11:03 am - 21     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A Sri Lankan man who said he was arrested without explanation and held at a controversial centre has told Sky News he was "treated like an animal".

It comes as MPs call for radical changes to the system of immigration detention, as they debated the most far-reaching report yet into conditions for those facing deportation.

The House of Commons will address the findings, including evidence of sexual abuse of detainees and calls to end the detention of pregnant women.

Sky News spoke to a number of detainees who were released from the Yarl's Wood centre earlier this year.

The Sri Lankan man claimed he and his wife had entered the UK lawfully and were in ongoing contact with the Home Office about the status of their application when 12 officers detained them in an early morning raid.

The man who did not want to be named said: "We have never done anything wrong. I have never been to jail.

"I have no criminal record … I can't explain how shocked we were.

"You are a criminal. That's how you feel, they treat you like an animal."

He said he and his pregnant wife were physically restrained by officers whilst at the centre.

"While my wife was on my lap, another two, three officers came and pulled my legs, and put me on the floor.

"Whilst we were on the floor, Serco officers were pulling her wrist. There's another officer pulling her from the shoulders.

"Then another pulling her from the tummy.

"What they did to her was so cruel. Nobody would do that to a pregnant woman in this world."

Serco said that a complaint surrounding the allegation of physical restraint had been made six months ago, and that they could not comment while it was being investigated.

Another former detainee said she had witnessed a woman being forced to crawl on her hands and knees to an office where a wheelchair was kept, because an officer refused to bring it to her room.

"The lady was crawling. I saw this.

"And after she had used the wheelchair, the officer said 'sorry, the chair has to stay in the office'.

"And on the way back, crawling," said the woman, from a South American country, who also did not want to be identified.

Serco denied there were insufficient resources for wheelchair uses and pointed out that long term users normally brought their own.

The security company also drew attention to a recent report by the prisons watchdog that found "staff treated inmates with respect" and found no evidence of a "widespread abusive or hostile culture amongst staff".

There has been renewed focus on the treatment of migrants in recent weeks.

The report by MPs was critical of the use of detention for vulnerable groups including refugees and trafficked women.

Detainees also spoke of the arbitrary nature of their detention, which came without warning and resulting in them being ultimately released back into the community.

"At Yarl’s Wood twice as many people are released back into the community as are removed which really raises the question, why are they detained in the first place?" said Emma Ginn, co-ordinator of charity Medical Justice.

"Immigration detention centres should be closed immediately.

"They are dangerous places, which cause serious harm to detainees."

The Home Office said it was working to improve standards at Yarl's Wood.

"We are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect," said a Home Office spokesperson.

"Detention and removal are essential parts of effective immigration controls, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily." (SKY News)
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  Comments - 21

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  • case Saturday, 12 September 2015 10:17 PM

    Let the Sri Lankan HR file a case against UK. Better do it immedietly.

    Blair Bush Saturday, 12 September 2015 10:21 PM

    No HR report for Blair and Bush for the Iraq blunder -- the are WHITES

    Licking Saturday, 12 September 2015 10:24 PM

    What about our patriots going saying "YES SIR" , to the WHITES.

    zeylanicus Sunday, 13 September 2015 12:14 AM

    Why did you leave Sri Lanka?

    Mincy Saturday, 12 September 2015 02:51 PM

    Our Foreign Minister should take it up and also the subject of how Western Embassies treat visa applicants

    Ruwan Saturday, 12 September 2015 03:12 PM

    And we welcome them with garlands via DM Android App

    Dr. Uwe L. Saturday, 12 September 2015 03:09 PM

    I am a German National who was 2009 unlawful for 2 weeks under detention order ("POW") and after under per-trial detention without proof-able reason in Negombo Prison. The Sri Lanka Ministry of Justice and the Ceylon Prison department has knowingly violated the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Presently my European Human Rights Lawyers preparing the International case against the Sri Lanka Government...!?! Will be interested for all democratic World Citizen to watch this case in Press and Media...?!? Dr.UL

    malij Saturday, 12 September 2015 03:25 PM

    Bloody hypocrites!!!!

    Lankan Saturday, 12 September 2015 03:28 PM

    once an immigration lady from malaysian immigration shouted to me in an insulting manner without checking my documents properly. then she let me in after she realized she was wrong. i think our forigen ministry should do something about this. many immigration officers treat sri lankans like a criminal just because they hold a sri lankan passport.

    Jeff Sunday, 13 September 2015 04:27 AM

    How about the murders of tamil prisoners in Srilankan jail?

    Premalal Sunday, 13 September 2015 06:40 AM

    Absolutely spot on. If the west is so bad why go there? Why are the Arab refugees keep going there and not to Saudi Arabia?

    Nimal Saturday, 12 September 2015 04:01 PM

    Any complains are bound to be investigated.

    janaka Saturday, 12 September 2015 04:02 PM

    Looking for pregnant wife to give birth in UK and claim citizenship for child? You are crooks.What is wrong with home country now Rajapaksas removed?

    Hiran Saturday, 12 September 2015 04:06 PM

    A typical British style humanity. When Brits have caused human rights violations, they are acceptable to the entire world including UNCHR. Shame on UN for bullying small countries such as Sri Lanka and showing a blind eye to the HR violations of big

    We are Saturday, 12 September 2015 10:27 AM

    Hip hip hurray from the Masters of Humans rights the great sri lankans !!!

    aja Saturday, 12 September 2015 04:54 PM

    And Our Foreign Minister goes begging from the british .

    Geneva Prince Saturday, 12 September 2015 05:27 PM

    I am setting up a panel of apes to investigate this and the report will be submitted to the committee of HR Pimps and Prostitutes in Geneva. No need for Sri Lanka to worry.

    de silva Saturday, 12 September 2015 11:24 AM

    Our foreign minister should ask an explanation from the British high commissioner without delay.

    saranapala Friday, 11 September 2015 06:13 PM

    I am sure there are video evidence. Should get an immigration lawyer and file a case against SERCO. And contact human rights lawyer.

    Ravi Saturday, 12 September 2015 09:11 PM

    How aboot torture and mascure of tamil prisoners in Arilanka jail?

    Henry Friday, 11 September 2015 06:55 PM

    Masters of human rights Hi Hi Hee!


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