Home Office accused of abandoning vulnerable groups in detention centers – watchdog

A watchdog says the belief by some Home Office staff that migrants are trying to abuse the system is leading to “deficiencies” in the care given to vulnerable groups at immigration centres.

The independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) report focuses on the Home Office’s Rule 35 process, calling it “ineffective”.

Rule 35 of the Detention Center Rules 2001 creates a mechanism for doctors in immigration centers (IRCs) to identify persons who may be at risk, including torture survivors and persons suicidal.

Chief Inspector David Neal said: “By bringing these individuals to the attention of Home Office staff responsible for approving and reviewing detention, the Rule 35 procedure provides essential protection for vulnerable detainees.

It is absolutely clear that there are people in the system who have been tortured and are victims of human traffickingDavid Neal, ICIBI

“Based on this inspection, the Rule 35 process must be called what it is – ineffective.”

The Home Office said it was “disappointed with the claims made by the ICIBI” and took the “well-being of the detainees extremely seriously”.

At the third annual inspection of adults at risk of immigration, Mr Neal explains: “The perception that the Rule 35 procedure had been abused by detainees was widespread among all teams at the three locations I inspected.

“I do not accept the limited evidence presented to support this claim and little apparent action has been taken to address these concerns.

“Some Home Office officials and health workers at immigration centers believed that detainees who could not clearly articulate why they wanted a Rule 35 assessment had been misguided by legal representatives or coached by fellow detainees.

“In some cases that may be true, but that view has become ubiquitous.”

In a statement, he added: “It is absolutely clear that there are individuals in the system who have been tortured and are victims of human trafficking.

“Given my findings that the system is not working as well as it should, I am concerned that the Home Secretary has deemed this an opportune time to end her predecessor’s mandate to ICIBI to conduct an annual review of Vulnerable Adult Guidelines and protective measures.

“Because this is such an important area, I intend to continue to include this area in my own program of inspections, in accordance with my statutory mandate, and I will continue to bring my findings to the attention of the Home Secretary, Parliament and the public.”

He also noted: “I found the quality of the data relied on to administer the detention system to be poor, as a number of people who had been released many years previously were incorrectly registered as being in detention, in some cases on IRCs (Immigration Removal Centers). ) which are now closed.”

He said work to address issues identified during the last two annual inspections was “progressing at a rapid pace, with some areas showing no improvement at all”.

Sile Reynolds, head of asylum representation at Freedom from Torture, a charity, said: “This report and the government’s response to it reveal the brazen disdain it has for the well-being of the people under its care.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We take the well-being of people in detention extremely seriously and treat all detainees with dignity and respect.

“The report rightly highlights the commitment and professionalism of the Interior Ministry’s teams working to protect detainees.

“But we know that more needs to be done, which is why we have accepted most of the report’s recommendations.

“The public has a right to expect the government to control our borders and remove those who have no right to be in the UK, including foreign criminals and those who came here illegally.”

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/home-office-accused-of-failing-vulnerable-groups-in-detention-centres-watchdog-42282732.html Home Office accused of abandoning vulnerable groups in detention centers – watchdog


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