EU citizens detained in immigration centres: a blatant violation of Human Rights

London, 15 Oct 2017 – EU citizens detention in removal centres in the UK with no valid reason is a blatant violation of international law. A decision to imprison and deport a person with permanent residence under EU law can only be made on ‘serious grounds of public policy or public security’. Many EU citizens have been unlawfully imprisoned and mistreated, intimidated and forced to leave voluntarily by the Home office.

immigration removal centre

Unlawful imprisonment of poor homeless is being carried by Conservatives to reach three main goals:

  1. Show Brexiteers and far right economic elites Government is delivering in order to get political support and votes in future general elections.
  2. Blackmail EU institutions in order to put pressure on deals.
  3. Criminalising EEA citizens so the perception lowering their status to the non EEA blurring lines of distinctions between actual criminals, illegal migrants and regular economic migrants. The very end is the total control of society as among the criminalised might be political opponent and dissidents.

Figures give evidence of the increasing pressure on and deliberate threats to EU27 nationals living in Britain: those being held in removal detention centres increased more than six times over since the Conservatives rule from 2010. That’s the ‘legal’ consequence of Conservatives restored The Vagrancy Act 1824, and ancient Act of royal Act dated back to Napoleonic Wars and recently enshrined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 prescribing rough sleepers and begging as a crime and offence. In May 2016 the Home Office introduced a new policy stating that rough sleeping by European Economic Area (EEA) nationals was an ‘abuse’ of their right to freedom of movement.

A supporting statement to this folly retrogressive decision comes from a Home Office official who recently said to The Independent: “We have toughened our response to foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK…. those who are encountered sleeping rough may not have a right to reside in the UK and be liable for removal. No one should come to the UK with the intention of sleeping rough”.  A blatant lie.

On the contrary records clearly show homeless EU citizens who ended sleeping roughly are people who were previously into work, tax payers, evicted because of rents arrears and not protected by the society and nor integrated in the housing and benefits system because of the cuts, austerity and consequences of the economic crisis or because discriminated (both in job selection, workplace, housing, benefits allowances).

The charity NELMA, North East London Migrant Action, operative in London in defence of migrants, reported that “identification documents were routinely confiscated during patrols, stopping people from exercising their rights under freedom of movement to look for work and find accommodation”. Isn’t this a violation of Human Rights? If not, how could we address what the Home Office is instructing MET police and local authorities to deliver? I think, at this point, it is not enough to address the EU Commission, though the issue is currently under scrutiny, but time has come to call the UN to intervene.