Oxford Migrant Society (OMS) have announced a protest on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of Campsfield House, an immigrant detention centre close to the city.
The centre in Kidlington, 15 minutes’ drive north of Oxford, has space for 216 male detainees.
The long-term detention centre accommodates illegal immigrants, pending their case resolutions and subsequent removal from the United Kingdom.
The protest was announced in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.
The statement, sent by OMS member and Wadham French and Law student Kathryn Hayward, reads: “Most of the people detained in Campsfield House have fled life threatening circumstances and cannot return to their country of origin. The UK is now their home. But instead of being able to contribute to the community and build families in the UK they are held in Campsfield House indefinitely, with no idea of when, or whether, they will be released.”
It continued: “Campsfield House is not necessary. The people inside Campsfield House are not criminals. They are not put in Campsfield House because they have committed a criminal offence. They are held in Campsfield House only on the basis of their immigration status. The people in Campsfield House pose no danger to society. They should not be in a detention centre.”
OMS has organised several events to mark the date, in addition to the protest.
There will also be focus groups, book stalls, and a performance of the Asylum Monologues at the Ice and Fire theatre.
The anniversary follows a fire at the centre last month which, according to Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, caused “extensive damage to the roof area and fire and smoke damage to the second floor of the two-storey building, and the relocation of over 100 detainees.
Following the incident, a resident at the centre, Farid Pardiaz, was charged with arson.
For further information, see www.closecampsfield.wordpress.com