Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dale Farm Solidarity Demonstration: Sat, 10th Sept

Irish Travellers at Dale Farm are about to be brutally evicted from the land they own by bulldozers and bailiffs. The Travellers of Dale Farm, many of whom have lived on the Dale Farm estate for over two decades, are being pushed out of the area, with no offer of alternative community sites in Basildon or anywhere else in England. These Travellers will be made homeless and left at the side of the road, where it will be illegal for them to stop.

This is the enforcement of arbitrary borders within borders. Like all other oppressive borders this enforcement is causing devastation to vulnerable, oppressed, poorly protected people. Thinly disguised racism and deep-seated prejudices are strengthened rather than challenged. Division, protectionism, and hostility reigns while these evictions continue. 

Dale Farm Solidarity has formed to stand in solidarity with the Dale Farm community, and is working to resist the Dale Farm evictions through mass protest and civil disobedience.

On 10th Sept, Dale Farm Solidarity is calling a demo. Here's the call out - please send this out widely and join us at Dale Farm as soon as you can:


Demonstrate on Saturday Sept 10 against the £18 million eviction of 90 Traveller families from their homes and Eric Pickles's Localism bill.  The eviction is likely to happen early in September and if it happens before September 10th, we will march to Dale Farm immediately

The Dale Farm estate is a former scrapyard bought by Traveller families and has existed since the 1970s.  Basildon Council has targeting half the community for destruction, and has failed to provide alternative sites for families to move to. Families have been given until midnight on August 31st to abandon their homes or have them bulldozed. Basildon have voted to spend a third of its budget -- £8 million demolishing the estate and turning people out onto the road. The policing of what could be a three-week operation has an additional price tag of £10 million, of which £6 million is being provided by the Home Office.

What's more, Eric Pickles's Localism bill will further destroy the Travelling community, removing the requirement of local council's to provide alternative sites.

Dale Farm Solidarity has called a demonstration starting at 1pm on Saturday Sept 10th.  Join us at Wickford Train Station, a mere 30 minutes by train from London Liverpool Street Station. The march will then proceed to Dale Farm and Camp Constant, a base for human rights monitors and those who will engage in civil disobedience to stop the bulldozing.

If the eviction starts before the schedule demonstration, we will march immediately to Dale Farm.  To sign up to a txt alert in case of eviction, or to spend a night at Dale Farm so that we have a constant presence there, visit

Buses will also be available. Contact to find or confirm transport leaving from near you.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Resist Ethnic Cleansing At Dale Farm

Resist ethnic cleansing in the UK, fight the eviction of Dale Farm!

First they came for...

From the clearances of Roma camps in Italy and France, to the neo-fascist murders of Roma in Hungary, Romania and the Czech republic, recent events in Europe are becoming increasingly disturbing. Now the UK Government is engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Dale Farm, the largest Traveller community in the country.

On 4th July the residents were told that have until Midnight on August 31st to abandon their homes or face having their community bulldozed. This despite the fact that the families own the land on which they are living and have been offered no viable alternative housing. In the event of an eviction some 90 families will be made homeless, including many elderly, sick, and very young residents.

An astonishing £18M has been allocated for the eviction, being led by Constant and Co, a company notorious for their involvement in brutal evictions of Traveller sites. This eviction is racially motivated. It amounts to ethnic cleansing. It must be resisted.

Camp Constant, a mass gathering of national and international supporters of the Dale Farm community will begin Saturday, August 27th. We want to send the invitation far and wide for people to come and help the community resist the eviction, many of whom are determined to fight to the end. Different people will take different types of action, but we will take the lead from the community in what forms of resistance we use. Remembering the centuries of persecution Travellers and Roma have faced from the settled community since the 1500s, it's crucial we all act with real sensitivity.

After the August 31st, an eviction could happen at any time, and we might not know when. We'll need people to be on standby to come up to Dale Farm in the event of an eviction. See: for details. We also need people to spend the night at Dale Farm to provide around the clock support. We are looking for groups and individuals to pledge to stay overnight at:

Dale Farm is within easy reach from London Liverpool St. Station. See for directions and contact details.

Please spread this message to your contacts and networks. Resist ethnic cleansing, fight the racist eviction of Dale Farm!

Demo Against New Family Detention Centre In Sussex, 30/07/11

Croydon NoBorders is calling for a demo in Haywards Heath from 1pm on Saturday 30th July to protest against a new detention centre for children and families which is due to open in late summer at nearby Pease Pottage.

Haywards Heath is the home of Mid Sussex Council which granted planning permission for the former Crawley Forest School to be converted into a migrant prison.

The migrant prison, known euphemistically as a "pre-departure accommodation centre", will be run by the infamous security firm G4S, who are facing charges for corporate manslaughter following the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga on a BA flight in November. The prison will "normally" hold families for up to 72 hours but they could be held for up to a week in "exceptional circumstances".

"Play facilities" at the prison will be run by children's charity Barnado's. Campaigners have started a campaign against Barnado's for their involvement, disrupting a fundraising event and picketing Barnado's shops and head office.

In May 2010, the coalition government agreed to completely end the detention of children for immigration control purposes. However, now they want to open a new detention centre exactly for this purpose. Barnardo's support will not make a bad situation better for the detainees - it has helped create this bad situation in the first place, because Barnardo's cuddly image was used as propaganda by the Border Agency to get planning permission to build the jail. Whatever excuses Barnardo's give, they know they are making a mistake. As the recession causes financial difficulties for Charities, some abandon their principles and turn to the State for any contracts they can get their hands on.

At a time of savage public spending cuts, it is disgusting how the State finds no shortage of money to expand the military-prison-border complex. It starts a new imperial war "to protect civilians in Libya" - but without shame builds borders to prevent terrified civilians from fleeing war-zones and seeking sanctuary inside Fortress Europe. How soon before the State enforces mass deportations to Libya, in the same way it deports Iraqi and Afghan refugees?

The survival of the State is dependent on how long it can fool its citizens into blaming immigrants for unemployment, hunger and homelessness. This distracts us from recognising that Capitalism is a bankrupt economic system which can only create jobs for bomb makers, prison guards and deportation escorts. The assault against migrants is the sharp end of the knife that is being used to cut back support for vulnerable and poor people, young and old alike.

Another world is possible if people with and without papers struggle together to resist their mutual exploitation by the State and Capitalism.
Croydon NoBorders is part of a transnational network of groups and individuals campaigning for an end to immigration controls and for a world without borders, states and capitalism.

Please join us on Saturday 30th July with banners, placards and instrument to call for an end to detention and deportation. Gather at Muster Green park in Haywards Heath at 1pm.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Barnardo’s: We Believe In (Locking Up) Children

Britain's largest children charity has become the latest target for anti-detention and anti-deportation campaigners, who argue that Barnardo's involvement in a new 'pre-departure accommodation' facility is legitimising what is, in effect, the government's continued use of detention for children. Following a number of protests, another demonstration has been called by No Borders in Haywards Heath in West Sussex on 30th July (see below for details).

In May 2010, the new coalition government 'committed' to ending child detention for immigration purposes as part of a "new, compassionate approach to family removals." However, while families with children under threat of deportation will no longer be held in normal immigration detention centres, they will instead be placed in new secure facilities, euphemistically named 'open accommodation' or 'pre-departure accommodation'.

One of these new 'family detention centres', as campaigners prefer to call them, will be opened in late summer in Pease Pottage, near Crawley in West Sussex. The converted school, with a 2.5m perimeter fence, will be run on behalf of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) by the notorious security giant G4S, while welfare and social care services will be provided by the children's charity Barnardo’s. (For more on this and other planned family detention centres, see this Corporate Watch article.)

Helping make detention 'acceptable'

In a statement announcing its decision to provide welfare services at the new centre in March, Barnardo's said it “accepts that, as a last resort and after consideration by an independent panel, children and families may need to be kept in secure pre-departure accommodation for a very short period of time,” justifying its involvement with the skewed logic that families and children held at the centre will be “at their most vulnerable and [will] desperately need our support.”

The charity's newly appointed chief executive Anne Marie Carrie added that, “All this adds up to a system which has ambitions to be fundamentally different - which seeks to safeguard children and treat families and children with compassion.” This presumably explains why agreeing to Barnardo's involvement in the project was apparently one of Ms Carrie's first decisions as chief executive. It is also a similar line to that used by the government to justify its new detention plans (see here, for example). Ms Carrie's previous working experience has been in local and national government posts (see here). Speaking at an event in London earlier this month she said, “Barnardo’s decision to provide welfare and social care services to asylum seeking families at the new pre-departure accommodation goes back to our core purpose: supporting the most vulnerable children in the UK.” Setting out the charity’s “principles guiding its provision” at the centre, she added that she was “absolutely clear that if policy and practice fall short of safeguarding the welfare, dignity and respect of families, then Barnardo’s will raise concerns, will speak out and ultimately, if we have to, we will withdraw our services.”

She then went on to outline the charity's “red lines” for involvement in the centre, in what appears to be an attempt to reassure an increasing number of critics. These include withdrawing services if, after a year, more than 10 percent of the families deported are returned through the pre-departure accommodation; if any family has stayed at the centre more than once or for longer than the one week maximum; if Tinsley House detention centre is used as an overflow for families when the Pease Pottage centre is full; or if the level of force used with a family on route to or from the centre is disproportionate to the family's circumstances and if any concerns Barnardo's may have about this, or about the centre's staff's behaviour towards families and children, go unaddressed.

But campaigners say these 'red lines' are not satisfactory. They point out that the government isn't planning to deport more than 10 percent of families through this new centre in any case, so they feel that is simply pulling the wool over their eyes. And if Tinsley House isn't used as an overflow centre they ask, does this mean it is okay to use police stations or short-terms holding facilities, or would Barnardo's prefer their colleagues in the UKBA to simply deport people straight away after snatching them from their homes? Further doubts are raised about what exactly 'proportionate' force is? Was the force used by G4S against Jimmy Mubenga whilst forcibly deporting him, which led to his death proportionate? In the words of one campaigner, all Barnado's is doing is “making this horrible place slightly more acceptable."

Yet, Barnado's is already increasing its capacity so it is ready for its new responsibilities. According to job adverts seen by Corporate Watch, the charity has recruited two project workers and two social workers to work at the centre, on salaries ranging from £22,000 to £29,000 per annum, plus a project administrator on a salary ranging from £17,000 to £19,000. Their roles will include counselling, organising one-to-one and group sessions, providing practical assistance, such as contacting distressed relatives. To show just how compassionate the new approach is, they will also organise play activities for the children.

Protests continue

In response, the campaign against Barnardo's is growing. Over the last three months, campaigners have leafleted staff at Barnardo's headquarters in Barkingside, Essex, and customers at Barnardo's shops, informing them about the organisation's involvement with the detention and deportation machine and urging the customers to boycott the shops until the charity withdraws from the project. Barnardo's also has shops in Chingford, South Woodford, Wanstead, Golders Green, North Finchley, Whetstone, Chiswick, East Sheen, Brixton and Eltham (see here).

On 6th April, activists from groups including No Borders London, All African Women's Group and SOAS Detainee Support walked into the Museum of Childhood in east London during a Barnardo's fundraiser to ask the charity and its guests “how charitable is it to collude with the UKBA in locking up children?” (You can find a video of the protest here).

As a next step, the newly formed No Borders Croydon has called for a demonstration in Haywards Heath on 30th July to protest against the new family detention centre in nearby Pease Pottage. Haywards Heath is the home of Mid Sussex Council, which granted planning permission for the former Crawley Forest School to be converted into a 'secure pre-departure accommodation'


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

R.I.P. I.A.S.

The Immigration Advisory Service, the UK’s largest charity providing representation and advice in immigration and asylum law, has gone into administration leaving hundreds of people without access to the legal representation that they are entitled to. Yet another victim it would seem of the pathological desire of the British political class in general, and the Tories in particular, to make it both almost impossible to apply for asylum in the UK, never mind actually gain protection under the various binding international treaties that this country supposedly abides by, and to reign back immigration to a mere trickle. Whilst UK corporations continue to plunder the Third World with impunity (pursuing the Imperial project under another guise whilst at the same time creating a glut of economic refugees) and the west tires to bomb much of the rest of the globe back to the Stone Age (whilst also engineering other refugee crises to complement their economic relatives), the developed world only wishes to admit to its hallowed halls those that will economically benefit it further - the super-rich who can transfer even greater capital from the underdeveloped (sic) world into the developed world's coffers and the skills-rich who can act as the new brain-drained and chattelled wage-slave army, temple slaves in the IMF's House of Mammon. The Big Society? Capitalism with a human face? Just exactly who is it that they think they are trying to kid?

Friday, 8 July 2011

A Flotilla To Stop Deaths In The Mediterranean

Hundreds of Thousands of people fled Libya since the crisis began in February 2011. As of June 14, according To the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), one million refugees have left the country; more than 500.000 heading off to Tunisia, Egypt More than 300.000 to 70.000 and to Niger.

Every day, refugees arrived in Tunisia to stay in overpopulated camps [ 1 ]. Already the majority are nationals from Sub-Saharan African countries themselves in conflict like Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea or Ivory Coast, it is possible to repatriate them Therefore, as time goes by, their living conditions are becoming more and more difficulty, while the risk that country hosting the may end up being them destabilised as well.

These refugees are caught in a vice-like grip: Gaddafi's regime is using the migration issue as a tool by forcing thousands of people to embark on makeshift vessels, at the same time, many Africans are accused of being mercenaries in the pay of Tripoli and fall prey of the NTC (National Transitional Council) [ 2 ]. Meanwhile, the countries of the coalition forces hand do not seem to establish a single link between their military intervention and people in exile. The European Union still did not take any initiative to host people thesis [ 3 ]. or to save those lost at sea. On the contrary, it is reinforcing border surveillance through the deployment of the Frontex agency in the Mediterranean while the coalition forces do not vessels provide assistance to the boat people. The UNHCR estimates that more than 2.000 people have been reported missing sincere February.

Numerous organisations are now pressuring the European authorities so refugees that can enter the European Union, for support to be provided to the countries where refugees are compelled to stay, and so that measures taken are to stop death in the Mediterranean. To no avail.

The lack of hospitality within the policy of European states has reached such appalling level that year it is our duty to act and to show the possibility of a Euro-Mediterranean area based on solidarity and respect for Human Rights.

Their followings meeting in Cecina (Italy), the Euro-Mediterranean organisations in favour of migrants' rights decided to charter a flotilla which will proceed to maritime surveillance so that assistance is provided to people finally in danger. The participatory organisations would also like to call on the Governments and European bodies on both sides of the Mediterranean for establishing relationships within this common area on the basis of exchange and reciprocity.

This flotilla will embark political figures, journalists, artists, and some representatives of the organisations Involved in the project.

Such an operation, major, would interest only if it engages widely.

Organisations, unions, policy makers, seamen, journalists, artists and anyone interested in this initiative are invited to join the list of information "call intervention Mediterranean" [ 4 ].


[ 1 ] ...
[ 2 ] See the FIDH report "Double tragedy for Sub-Saharan Africans"
[ 3 ] The situation in the refugee camp Located in the South of Tunisia May Strongly destabilises the country, see the attached report of the GADEM and the Cimade - in French - (2011) "Challenges to the borders of Tunisia," p. 50 and Human Rights Watch's releases ( )
[ 4 ] To subscribe to the mailing list, please send an email to


Thursday, 7 July 2011

“Without The Necessary Authority”:

The UK Government’s new compassionate approach to child detention

“You’re a big boy now so I have to search you,” said the immigration officer to the five-year-old, donning latex gloves and patting him down at a Heathrow Airport detention facility run by outsourcing giant G4S.

The child had been booked into Terminal 4’s “short term holding facility” as a “visitor” which meant that his detention would have gone unrecorded but for a surprise visit by two of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Prisons on 3rd March this year.

The boy, an EU national, had been returning home to Britain with his father, a non-EU national, after a family visit to the father’s country of origin. The Inspectors noted that the child was detained “without the necessary authority”.

Their “Report on an unannounced inspection of the short-term holding facility at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4”, published today, found that in three months to February 2011 the lock-up had held 78 children, including eight unaccompanied minors. Their average stay was 9.9 hours, twelve children were held for more than 18 hours — the longest detention being 23.9 hours. Not all staff were CRB checked.
This, more than a year after the Coalition Government pledged to end the detention of children for immigration purposes, and six months after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg claimed it had been accomplished.

The five-year-old subjected to the latex “rub-down search” then witnessed his father’s humiliation. The father’s phone was confiscated, but, say the Inspectors, he was not offered the free telephone call to which he was entitled.

Instead of being taken to the family room, which had children’s toys, books and posters (but no natural light nor access to fresh air), the father and child were held in the adult room.

“The father had not been formally interviewed by an immigration officer and was very distressed at the prospect of being refused entry and separated from his son,” said the Inspectors. “When we spoke with him he did not understand what was going to happen to him next. He broke down in tears in front of his child and the other detainees, which was humiliating for him and distressing for the child. After we advised the detainee that he was entitled to make a telephone call, he spoke to G4S who granted his request. The detainee’s distress could have been alleviated had he been able to make the telephone call earlier.”

That these things happened directly under the gaze of HM Prison Inspectors suggests this might be UKBA and G4S on their very best behaviour.

Staff admitted to the Inspectors, “that they had not received refresher training in suicide and self-harm prevention” and “did not carry anti-ligature knives but a knife was attached to the first aid box in their office.” The Inspectors noted: “This could cause unnecessary delay in an emergency.”

The Inspectorate also reported today on Heathrow Terminal 3’s lockup where, over three months to February 2011, 98 children had been held including eight unaccompanied minors. A child’s average stay was 8.3 hours, with twelve children held for more than 18 hours – and one held for 30 hours.

Despite the long periods of incarceration, neither facility had beds. Adults or children could lie across chairs if they wanted to. “And even this did not give room for all to sleep,” said the Inspectors.

Although one third of the detainees at Terminal 3 and a quarter at Terminal 4 were women, there was not always a woman on the staff. “Rub-down searches” took place in an open office, “which was especially inappropriate in the case of female detainees”.

When detainees requested to shower, and if staffing levels permitted, they were put in an escort van and driven to another facility.

One member of staff at Terminal 3 told the Inspectors “of an incident many months previously when a detainee had been banging his head on the table and said: ‘Luckily we were able to put him on the floor and stop him doing it.’”

The Inspectors noted: “The use of three staff to pin the detainee to the floor to prevent possible self-harm seemed an over-reaction.”

Despite the large numbers of children being held, the Inspectors noted that staff had “inadequate knowledge” of the referral system “for identifying victims of human trafficking”.

Although there were some valid legal advice telephone numbers in the holding rooms, the Inspectors found “access to legal advice for non-English speakers was poor. Immigration officers did not always use professional interpreters when necessary, and did not always complete legally required documents correctly. Detainees could not fax a legal adviser freely.” Nor were they routinely offered the free phone call to which they were entitled.

So much for the “big culture shift within our immigration system” and the “new compassionate approach to family returns” prematurely celebrated in December by Nick Clegg.

Today’s reports provoke discomfiting questions, such as:
How many trafficked children miss their one chance of rescue because staff lack proper training?

How many children are detained “without the necessary authority”, misleadingly listed as “visitors”, patted down and patronised by people who may or may not be CRB-checked?

And, if this is how immigration detention works when HM Inspectorate of Prisons is in the house, how do things go when nobody important is watching.


Dale Farm Eviction Notice Served

Camp Constant to be set up from Saturday August 27th

Activity Days at Dale Farm, starting on Saturday July 9th, at 1 pm

Today, some 90 families at Dale Farm, the UK's largest Traveller community, were hand-delivered a final notice of eviction giving families until midnight on August 31 to abandon their homes, or face their entire community being bulldozed. The central government and Basildon Council have set aside over £18m for the eviction battle that could last three weeks. It will be the biggest clearance of its kind involving the ploughing up of 54 separate plots created on a former scrap-yard purchased by the Travellers ten years ago.

Dale Farm is only a 30 minute train ride from London, and hundreds of people have pledged to join residents in nonviolent resistance to the destruction of Dale Farm. The residents of Dale Farm have encouraged  their supporters to establish a base at Dale Farm, Camp Constant, to resist this eviction and house human rights monitors.

Join us on Saturday August 27th and beyond, starting with a weekend of Traveller history & celebration together with practical eviction resistance training. There will also be training for legal observers and human rights monitors, and a bit of a party on Saturday night. Sleeping space is available in caravans or you can bring a tent. The eviction could go ahead right after midnight on August 31st, so we will be staying at Dale Farm before then in preparation. Please check for further updates.

Dale Farm is within easy reach from London Liverpool St. Station. See: for directions.

You can sign up to our email bulletins here:

*Stay overnight at Dale Farm and Alerts - Urgent call for Support*

After the August 31st, an eviction could happen at any time, and we might not know when. We'll need people to be on standby to come up to Dale Farm in the event of an eviction. See: for details. We also need people to spend the night at Dale Farm to provide around the clock support to the community and resistance to the eviction. We are looking for groups and individuals to pledge to stay overnight.

If you can be on eviction alert, or spend a night at Dale Farm, please sign up here:

Also, please ask your friends to ask their friends to pledge to stay a night:

*Weekend Activity Days*

On July 9th and beyond, we will be building defences to resist the eviction, as well as supporting the community and setting up Camp Constant. We will also hold a meeting there, every Saturday at 1 pm.  For more information, and to check the dates of activity days see:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Travellers Given Notice: Dale Farm Eviction Soon

This morning [4 July] some 90 families at Dale Farm, the UK's largest Traveller community, were hand-delivered a final notice of eviction, giving families until midnight on August 31 to abandon their homes, or face their entire community being bulldozed.

Basildon Borough Council has contracted Gypsy removal specialists Constant & Co to carry out a direct action operation, using heavy machinery and accompanied by riot police.  It will be the biggest clearance of its kind involving the ploughing up of 54 separate plots created out of a former scrap-yard purchased by the Travellers ten years ago.

The central government and Basildon Council have set aside more than £18m to meet the costs of an eviction battle that could last three weeks.

"Dale Farm residents are willing to move, at no cost to Basildon, but need the council to identify suitable land," said Richard Sheridan, president of the Gypsy Council.  Dale Farm Housing Association has submitted plans for two alternative caravan parks on land belonging to the Homes and Communities Agency. An earlier plan for a site at Pitsea was rejected by the council.

The eviction is taking place despite pleas from two UN bodies and an investigation by the Council of Europe. Lawyers for the Travellers will attempt to challenge the decision to evict through a judicial review application.

Hundreds of people have pledged to join residents in nonviolent resistance to the destruction of Dale Farm. A support-base, Camp Constant, is being set up on August 27h, before the final notice expires, and there will be activity days during the weekend until the notice expires.

"An entire community will be made homeless and we'll see children pulled from their schools and dumped out the roads," said supporter Natalie Fox.

An international team of legal observers are to monitor the conduct of bailiffs and police.  For more information, as well as a press pack, visit and copies of the eviction notice.


Grattan Puxon, Dale Farm Housing Association 01206 523528, 07757533380
Dale Farm Solidarity: 07891854430, 07583621312
Richard Sheridan, president of The Gypsy Council and resident of Dale Farm
Mary Ann McCarthy 07961854023, resident of Dale Farm