We welcome the announcement on 9th November 2018 that, influenced by the recommendations of Stephen Shaw’s reports, the government commits to reduce by 40% the number of people detained under immigration powers in the UK. We welcome the decision to close Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Oxfordshire. Reducing the number of detention centres and those detained within them is an important step towards a fairer asylum and immigration system in the U.K.

For almost 25 years, Asylum Welcome has seen first-hand the human impact of detention at Campsfield.

With this historic announcement we want to pay tribute to many people:

  • to people detained at Campsfield who have struggled to maintain their safety, dignity, health and family relationships
  • to local volunteers who have been part of the Asylum Welcome detainee support service and Campsfield visiting group and helped ensure that detainees have a daily visit and are able to communicate better with doctors, lawyers and their families
  • to the networks of individuals and professional bodies who support our work and support the welfare of detainees, including the long-standing Close Campsfield Campaign
  • and finally we pay tribute to those staff members at Campsfield who carried out their duties with respect and compassion.

Asylum Welcome will work with the remaining detainees until Campsfield closes in May 2019. Asylum Welcome’s other services for asylum seekers and refugees living in the community in Oxfordshire will continue into the future. In coming months we will be reviewing the implications for Asylum Welcome’s work so that we can put our energy and experience where it is most useful, pass on what we have learned to other visiting groups, and celebrate the legacy of our visitors. We will be consulting widely on the best direction for our organisation.

We urge members of the public to maintain an interest in the welfare of detainees who will continue to be held at removal centres elsewhere in the UK that are considered to run a more harsh regime than at Campsfield. Their safety relies on your concern.

Thank you for your support for the work of Asylum Welcome.