“I don’t know when I’m going to get back to my life. Could be any time, could be five years. We don’t know. That’s what’s killing us here. I want my freedom back.”
Ahmad, Iran, detained for over a year.
People are detained without any time limit. More and more people are being detained for years. The UK is one of the few countries in the world which does not have a time limit on depriving people of their freedom.
People are detained for a very long time by the UK Border Agency when they cannot return to countries like Zimbabwe or Somalia because they are too dangerous. Others cannot be deported because they do not have a passport and their Embassy refuses to allow them to return. People are not able to leave Britain but instead of being released, they are kept in detention indefinitely.
Most people find long-term detention intensely traumatic. Not knowing when you will be free is damaging to mental health. People who have been tortured or imprisoned in their home countries are particularly scarred by long-term detention. We are calling on the government to introduce a time limit on detention. Take action with us to end indefinite detention.
Reports and briefings
Across Europe, migrants are wrongly detained when they cannot return to their countries of origin. Only the UK detains them indefinitely for years. 20 unreturnable migrants tell their stories of detention.
Somalia: indefinite detention and deportation
A short briefing that explains why people can’t currently be removed to Somalia and the effect that being held in detention with no time limit has on people, many of whom came to the UK as young children.
Detention Action published the Detained Lives report. This ground breaking report presents evidence of the ineffectiveness and the human cost of indefinite detention.
Detention Action published No Return No Release No Reason which demonstrates that the indefinite detention of migrants who cannot be deported is ineffective, inefficient and enormously damaging.
“I really love this country. The education system, the NHS is amazing but the immigration policies in this country are terrible. They lock people up in a prison without an end, and turn their back on you. I can’t believe that this can happen in a country like England.”
Bhavan, from Sri Lanka, released after a total of 1 year in detention