However, the UK government has since blasted the report, saying it did not “recognise much” of its content. The latest analysis by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) released on Thursday raised concerns about the deportation processes of migrants who had committed crimes in the UK.
It found they were “locked up 23 hours a day in their cells in poor conditions with little prospect of removal” and added it could amount to “inhumane and degrading treatment.”
While visiting the country between March and April 2023, several concerns were raised regarding the uncertainty surrounding the duration of migrant detention, the “prison-like” conditions in detention centres, and the treatment of individuals exhibiting symptoms of mental illness.
The CPT conducted inspections at four detention centres situated across the nation: Derwentside (near Newcastle), Brook House (Gatwick Airport), and Colnbrook and Harmondsworth (in the London area).
As per the report, detention centres are generally adequately equipped. Certain rooms feature amenities such as televisions, lockable cupboards, seating areas, and easily operable windows.
Yet, the CPT determined Brook House and Colnbrook detention centres remain prison-like and “not appropriate for holding persons.”
Presently, the UK 1971 Immigration Act does not establish a time limit for detention. This means people can spend six months, and even a year or two in a detention facility, Hugh Chetwynd, executive secretary of the CPT, told Euronews.
“The uncertainty when you get detained for how long you’re going to be there plays into your well-being,” Chetwynd said “especially if you haven’t committed a crime and you’re going to be removed.”
The CPT report proposed a series of suggestions for Downing Street, which is presently endeavoring to advance its contentious bill aimed at deporting asylum-seekers to Rwanda through the House of Lords.
The UK ought to implement a time constraint for holding individuals under immigration legislation, as the uncertainty regarding the duration of detention adversely affects detainees, the report urged.
Under UK rules, vulnerable people must be brought to the attention of the authorities that make decisions on detention. If a person’s health is likely affected by detention, authorities must then assess whether they should be released, the report says.
Still, the CPT found in some centres, people were categorised incorrectly and stayed in detention despite the implications for their health.
Responding to their claims, the UK government said it “does not recognise much of the content of this report” as it “does not accurately reflect the important work we undertake to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in our care.”
They claimed the UK has long fulfilled its human rights obligations and ensured the protection of liberties.