As the country continues to fret over things like Brexit and the changing UK work permit, reports have been released that shine a light on ongoing problems with immigration in Britain. Figures recently released by the Home Office have revealed that there have been more than 3,000 hunger strikes in immigration UK removal centres since 2015.
Throughout 2017, there were more than 1,000 hunger strikes that lasted for at least 48 hours in centres across England and Scotland, as per the data found during a freedom of information request. In 2018, there were more than 400 strikes, and in the first 3 months of 2019, centres recorded 260 hunger strikes in Scotland and England. Campaigners who work in the centres believe that these numbers aren't fully accurate - and only represent a fraction of the true problem.
The data, which was requested by the Scottish National Party, explores centres like Brook House, Harmondsworth, Morton Hall, Yarl's Wood and many more. According to the report, the number of hunger strikes was particularly high in areas like Harmondsworth and Yarl's Wood - suggesting that conditions in these locations are particularly desperate.
James Wilson, the director of the Detention Action group, commented on the reports, saying that although the numbers are shocking, they're not surprising. He drew attention to the 2017 Panorama documentary released about Brook House and noted that nothing significant has changed in detention centres since then. Many detainees without UK work permits or visas are suffering from high levels of depression, desperation, and even mental health issues. Attempts of suicide are also common, according to Wilson.
The latest report is another string in the bow of groups who are complaining to the Home Office this year, asking them to improve the way that detainees are treated at detention centres around the country. This year, a parliamentary committee has already concluded that the Home Office has failed in its responsibility to oversee the humane and safe detention of immigrants in the UK.