Yarls Wood Hunger Strike Continues

12 February 2010, 05:26 | Updated: 15 February 2010, 06:23

It's now been a week since a hunger-strike began at the Yarl's Wood Immigration Centre.

On Monday - it turned into a protest inside the Detention Centre - with around 80 women refusing to eat.

One the 80 women who's been refusing food - and is still not eating is "Denise".  She's angry at the time taken to review her asylum case.  During the protest, she was put into isolation.

Speaking to Heart, she says: "They offered me water but I haven't taken it from them. I told them the only way for me to eat was if they allowed me back to the landing (outside isolation). Out of the 20 of us who were protesting on Monday - they've let 18 of them back to their rooms, and we're still in isolation, and that's not fair."

The 35 year-old Jamaican has been inside Yarl's Wood for over a month - and says the Home Office's statement all detainees have gone back to their rooms and have started eating again is not true. Denise alleges many are still not eating the food that's offered, or eating any food from the available local store.

Denise is now into her 8th day without food and says she's only surviving with god's help - and will continue until her aslyum case is heard by the authorities.

David Wood, Strategic Director for Criminality and Detention, said

"This peaceful protest was resolved on Monday night. Around 40 women at Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre were raising issues around their detention and progress of their cases, they returned to their rooms without the need for staff intervention and UK Border Agency staff at the centre are liaising with caseworkers to resolve concerns raised by these individuals.

"The well-being of detainees is of paramount concern to the UK Border Agency, which is why healthcare staff and independent monitors from the Independent Monitoring Board were at the scene to witness the women's protest. The demonstration remained passive at all times and there was no use of force. The detainees were integrated back into the centre at the earliest opportunity.

"All detainees are treated with dignity and respect, with access to legal advice and heath care facilities. We only remove those who both the UKBA and the independent courts deem to have no legal right to be here.”