Freed Voices back calls for a time limit on immigration detention

February 8, 2019

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has released its report into immigration detention, which included recommending the introduction of a 28-day time limit. Freed Voices welcome the committee’s findings. 

Freed Voices is a group of experts by experience dedicated to speaking out about the realities of immigration detention in the UK and calling for reform. Our ultimate goal is to see the walls of detention fall and a fair immigration system that treats people with humanity, dignity and compassion.

As a group exclusively consisting of people that have been detained across various UK immigration detention centres, we know that the indefinite nature of detention exacerbates mental and physical trauma and all other harms caused by it. This is why, while actively campaigning to see the walls of detention fall, we see a 28 day time limit for all as an important step.

We are glad to witness that immigration detention has become a widely covered topic. The harm caused by indefinite detention is no longer an obscure topic and it has come to the stage where the government can no longer escape the realities of it.

Therefore, this present climate seems a good window of opportunity to secure a time limit on immigration detention for all; especially as the new Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill has already passed its second reading, and the committee stage is expected to start on Tuesday 12 February.

We understand that a group of cross-party MPs, lead by the chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) Harriet Harman, has already stated their intention to table an amendment calling for a 28 day time limit. We are anticipating that other groups, MPs and peers could table other amendments as well. Good cross party support on this issue is certainly welcome and we witnessed this during the second reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The Freed Voices group considers indefinite detention to be an urgent human rights and a civil liberties issue. Reforms to this inhumane system must be applicable to everyone held in immigration detention, irrespective of their individual circumstances.

Therefore, we unequivocally support a 28 day time limit on immigration detention for everyone; with no exclusions, with no exceptions. We are glad to see that many others – NGOs, charities, human rights organisations, MPs and a considerable portion of the general public – are on the same wavelength and we hope that many others will join us in the long run.

Find out more about Freed Voices or listen to Michael speaking about the report on BBC radio below.

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