The APPG on Refugees and APPG on Migration joint inquiry into the use of immigration detention held its first oral evidence session today.
The panel first heard evidence from Shami Chakrabarti (Director, Liberty) and Jerome Phelps (Director, Detention Action), who answered questions from the panel on, amongst others subjects, access to legal support and indefinite detention.
Detention Action’s written evidence to the inquiry can be read here: detention-action-detention-inquiry-evidence-0714.
The panel then spoke directly to three detainees currently held in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre by phone link. The detainees told the panel about their own experiences in detention.
The third set of witnesses to give evidence were three former detainees: Alice, Maimuna and Souleymane. They told the panel about their experiences trying to access medical support, and about how their detention had effected their mental health.
Lastly, the panel heard from Dr Cornelius Katona and Dr Katy Robjant, both from the Royal College of Psychiatry and the Helen Bamber Foundation. Dr Katona and Dr Robjant discussed their own work with clients who had experience immigration detention, as well as the international evidence relating to the impact of detention on mental health outcomes.
An article on the mental health implications of detaining asylum seekers, co-authored by Dr Katona and Dr Robjant, is available here: Robjant Hassan and Katona 2009.
The panel would like to encourage all interested parties to submit written evidence to the inquiry. The deadline for submitting written evidence is 1 October 2014.