Paisley council set for protests to block new refugee detention facility


Campaigners want full council scrutiny of plans to replace Dungavel with new fast track facility

DEMONSTRATORS will hold a noisy protest tonight [Tuesday 8 November] outside a meeting of Renfrewhsire council in Paisley, in a bid to block the creation of a new refugee detention facility in Scotland.

Campaigners hope to persuade the council to defer its decision on whether to allow the opening of a new refugee fast track centre, designed to move asylum applicants out of the country quickly, thus moving them beyond contact with their legal representatives and terminating their applications.

The demonstration, from 2pm at Paisley council chambers, is being organised by Stop Detention Scotland (SDS), after the council received almost 300 complaints against the opening of the facility in under a month.

Jonathan Vaughn, a member of SDS and one of the demonstration organisers said: “We are so angry at these plans. We will fight these plans all the way. The council have a duty to respect human rights, and the opinion of the public. The resounding response from the people of Paisley has been ‘No New Detention Centre’.”

Campaigners are calling plans for a holding facility near Glasgow airport a ‘new Dungavel’ after the closing of the hated Dungavel detention centre by the Home Office in September. The closure was announced after years of protest by both residents inside the complex and solidarity protests from Scots beyond its fences, but was immediately followed by plans for the new facility.

Robina Queresh of the housing rights group Positive Action Housing (PAH) complained that Westminster detention policies were still being deployed in Scotland.

Event: Protest at council meeting against Paisley detention centre

She said: “It will mete out more cruelty with less scrutiny. Worst of all, it will detain whole families and children through the backdoor. This is Westminster at its worst and all done on Scottish soil.”

Campaigners are pushing to have the matter deferred to a full council meeting in December, as they fear that the plans are being rushed through decisions making bodies by the Home Office.

Recent months have seen an unprecedented ramping-up of rhetoric against immigration and refugees in the UK, since the country’s vote for Brexit and new xenophobic measures outline by the Conservative Party at its October conference.

UK immigration minister Robert Goodwill has said that the new centre would mean savings for the British public, as refugees would be processed out of the country more quickly.

He said: “The new short-term holding facility would provide easy access to London airports, from where most removals take place, meaning those with no right to be in the UK can be removed with less delay.”

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