Stop the new detention centre for women

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My name is Agnes. I am a refugee, I am a woman, I am a human being. The Home Office has started building a new immigration detention centre at Hassockfield in County Durham to lock up women like me. Please join me in taking action to stop them.

This is personal for me. I claimed asylum here because I was being persecuted in my country and I thought I would be killed. But I was locked up at Yarl’s Wood (a detention centre for women in Bedfordshire) for 3 months in 2012. I was put there because the solicitor who was working on my case didn’t do it properly. I suffered so much and for no reason.

Now, the government has agreed that I should stay in this country, and I have refugee status. I dedicate my time to supporting other women. I know how detention destroys a woman. Women become depressed and suicidal in detention. I don’t want to see this happen to any of my sisters who are looking for safety.

Previously, the Home Office said it would make changes so that fewer people are locked up. In August 2020, Yarl’s Wood emptied and the detention of women was at a historic low. I thought change was coming, I allowed myself to feel some hope. If this detention centre opens the Home Office will be going back on its promises, and will harm vulnerable women who need support.

This detention centre is in a place that was previously earmarked for building houses for local people. The government should be building more homes, not more prisons.

Please join me in taking a stand against this detention centre.

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