Following reports of positive Covid-19 cases at Brook House, AVID calls for the release of all people in detention

In March, we called for an immediate halt to all removals, and for the release of everyone held in immigration detention, in response to Covid-19. Yesterday, Brook House IRC was confirmed as a Covid-19 outbreak centre, demonstrating that the risk to life of those in detention is now a question of the highest concern.

Despite Covid-19, the Home Secretary pledged to remove 1,000 people who arrived on small boats before the 31st December, meaning the number of people being rushed through the system to be deported on charter flights has unprecedentedly increased. The accompanying rate of transfers of people between different holding centres across the UK poses an unnecessary risk to the health of people detained. Brook House is often the last location where people are held before being removed on Charter flights. 

We are asking the Home Office to immediately release all those held administratively in detention centres and prisons across the UK, to avoid a public health disaster and loss of life. Priority should be given to those held in centres already found to have had positive cases and adequate accommodation, testing and healthcare must be provided.

Planned charter flights removing people from Brook House have been cancelled this week due to the Covid-19 outbreak there.

















Photo: Public artwork by Jeremy Deller for World Human Rights Day yesterday. Image from the artist's instagram.

We are also concerned that quarantine measures needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in detention centres are causing further harm to an already vulnerable group of people. For example, access to legal advice and Rule 35 reports as well as NGO support such as the visiting provided by our members has become increasingly difficult during lockdown.

We call once again for a halt on all removals and for the Home Office to prioritise public health needs by immediately releasing all those held in detention to safe accommodation in the community, not into ex-military barracks.

Publication date: 
Friday, December 11, 2020