Important Business

Bill 146 on Detention of Victims of Torture and Other Vulnerable People, December 2017

Joan Ryan (Labour, Enfield North) spoke in parliament on the Government’s failure to protect victims of torture and other vulnerable people from detention, while presenting a private member’s Bill (Bill 146) for consideration. The Bill was brought to the House so to make provision about “immigration detention safeguards for victims of torture and other vulnerable people, including those that have suffered from severe physical, psychological or sexual violence; and for connected purposes.”

After speaking, the Bill was then read for the first time and will be read for a second time on Friday 23 November 2018. In introducing the bill, Joan Ryan spoke about the unacceptable treatment of victims of torture and other vulnerable people in the UK’s immigration detention system, against long-standing Home Office policy. She reported on the six court cases that have reported inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and on the 11 people who died in custody in 2017. She also described Stephen Shaw’s review of vulnerable people in detention from last year which found safeguards to be inadequate and that detention was used too often and for too long. She then explained how the Government’s response to Stephen Shaw’s recommendations worsened the already bad situation by weakening protections for vulnerable detainees. This analysis was borne out in October 2017 by the High Court’s ruling in a case brought against the Home Office by Medical Justice and seven detainees which found the adults at risk policy unlawfully imprisoned hundreds of victims of torture due to a narrowing of the definition of torture to only include violence carried out by state actors. The High Court ruled that the Home Office must review and reissue the adults at risk policy. Joan Ryan describes her bill as effective in ensuring that “victims of torture and other vulnerable people are not detained for immigration purposes except in very exceptional circumstances”. Joan Ryan went on to talk about two victims of torture she had met with who had been wrongfully mistreated by the Home Office. She explains how the initial 10 week implementation of the adults at risk policy was applied incorrectly in “almost 60% of 340 cases” and that the Home Office did not listen to the concerns of the organisation Freedom from Torture or the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She also states that parliament were not given adequate time to debate issues relating to the adults at risk policy. She concludes that in addressing this issue, the Prime Minister will set an example as a country that respects and upholds human rights commitments.

An Early Day Motion (no. 696) on 'Immigration Detention of Victims of Torture and Other Vulnerable People' was tabled on 14th of December 2017 by Joan Ryan, and sponsored by Catherine West, Caroline Lucas, Lisa Cameron, Gareth Thomas and David Lammy.


Ministerial Statement, January 2016: Response to Shaw Review



Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention 2015 



Progress of the Immigration Bill 2016