Detention Action were very humbled, and privileged, to receive the Liberty Human Rights Campaign of the Year 2015 award this week, for our successful campaign to shut down the Detained Fast Track.
Members of staff past and present, the wonderful legal team that represented us, Freed Voices members affected by the judgments, trustees, supporters and loved ones all converged on the awards ceremony held at the South Bank to see our Director, Jerome Phelps, receive the accolade. Nominated alongside some other truly incredible advocacy campaigns – Lord Ramsbotham, CRAE, The Howard League for Penal Reform, the SCYJ, and JENGbA – it was a great honour to receive such recognition for our work.
Speaking at the event, our Casework and Policy manager, Tamsin Alger (who was the leading force behind the ‘Fast Track to Despair‘ report which really kicked off our fight to end the Detained Fast Track), had this to say:
“For years, we have supported asylum-seekers held in detention while their claims were processed under truncated timescales on the Detained Fast Track. With terrifying regularity, their claims would be refused and with little opportunity to access legal advice or put forward vital evidence, many would be returned to the country’s they had fled from in search of sanctuary. A considerable number of these individuals were extremely vulnerable – torture survivors, people with mental health issues, victims of trafficking or other human rights abuses. Time and time again, asylum-seekers would ask us, bewildered, “Are there no human rights in this country?” In 2011, we launched the Fast Track to Despair report, to shine a light on the injustice facing so many people seeking protection in the UK. From there our legal challenge against the Detained Fast Track grew, which culminated in five separate judgments of unlawfulness and the Fast-Track’s eventual suspension in July.
None of this could have been possible without the amazing work of our legal team and the support of many other law firms, NGOs and individuals. More importantly, this would not have happened without people in detention willing to speak up, to tell their story and to remind us all that human rights and right to a fair hearing are for everyone. We are honoured to accept this award in recognition of them, and all those who are unable to speak out after being failed by British justice.”