SDV coordinator Kate Alexander reports from last week’s #Time4aTimeLimit strategy day in London
The UK is the only country in Europe with no time limit on immigration detention. But pressure to change that is growing. The Detention Forum #Time4aTimeLimit strategy day in London last week saw more than fifty organisations get together for an inspiring day discussing how to keep up that pressure in the run up to the general election.
Detention Forum’s ‘ask’ is simple: a 28 day time limit for immigration detention. This is a first step towards changing the culture of immigration enforcement and reducing the size of the detention estate.
Delegates heard about some of the activities of Forum members over the last year. The Unlocked virtual tour of detention centres last autumn really successfully brought these hidden places into public view. And the first parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention gave people with experience of detention, and the organisations that support them, the opportunity to share their knowledge to influence parliamentarians.
We learned that the inquiry’s report will be launched on Tuesday 3 March and there was genuine optimism in the room that it would make a strong statement about introducing a time limit.
So what can we all do to demonstrate that there is a growing popular movement in favour of a time limit? Here are just a few ideas from the day.
- Write to MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates telling them you want indefinite detention to end. Point out that people suspected of terrorism offences can only be held for 14 days without charge. Also point out that immigration detention is expensive and inefficient. You’ll find some sample letters here.
- Spread the word among your friends, colleagues and networks. Are you a member of a union? a church? a political party? another campaign group? If so, tell them about the #Time4aTimeLimit campaign and ask them to support it. It’s important to bring the campaign into the mainstream of civil society.
- Use social media. By doing so you can spread the word about the campaign and support others who want to end indefinite detention. Use the hashtag #Time4aTimeLimit.
Taking one or all of these actions will help towards creating an environment in which politicians and policy makers see that a diverse range of people want change, and that its time has come.
Follow @SDVisitors and @DetentionForum to stay up to date on all the #Time4aTimeLimit campaign news.