The UN is right to criticise the UK’s detention of vulnerable asylum seekers (Report, 23 February). Every day Waging Peace deals with people who have fled genocidal attacks, horrific abuse and torture only to be treated like criminals and detained simply for seeking a safe haven. Even groups that asylum guidelines clearly allow to stay in the country are detained. We regularly deal with Darfuris who, having escaped brutal persecution in Sudan, are then locked up by the UK Border Agency. Most are eventually released and granted status, but only after persistent work by us and other similar charities. And by then the damage has already been done. It is not uncommon for those asylum seekers who have suffered the very worst torture and abuse to feel suicidal when faced with detention. It is a shocking indictment of the current system that many would rather return home and risk death than face the current system. The UK must uphold its commitment to protect those who seek refuge from violence and persecution, rather than subject them to abuse all over again.
Director, Waging Peace
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