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The Government has announced the closure of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Oxford. Our statement:

We are delighted to hear that Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre will close in May of next year, and to hear that this is part of broader steps towards reducing the use of detention in the wake of the second Shaw Review. Our member group, Asylum Welcome, supports people indefinitely detained at Campsfield and sees first-hand the impact detention has on people’s lives and wellbeing. The unwavering support of Asylum Welcome’s volunteer visitors in providing friendship and solidarity to people who are indefinitely detained, and the steadfast work of community campaigners such as the Campaign to Close Campsfield are inspiring examples of the commitment of local individuals and communities to countering the incredibly harmful nature of immigration detention in the UK at an individual and a systemic level.

Campsfield will be the fourth detention centre to close since 2015. Each closure, where it shrinks the detention estate, represents a welcome reduction in the numbers of people being detained. However, the piecemeal closure of individual centres without clear evidence of a strategy to reduce detention on a much larger scale does not go far enough in terms of countering the well evidenced harm that detention causes to individuals. We welcome the recent announcements by the government of a review of time limits on detention and to pilot the use of community based alternatives to detention and hope to see these initiatives gather pace and bring about meaningful reform. Whilst the UK maintains a detention estate which deprives people of their liberty with no end date, and continues to lock up extremely vulnerable individuals, we will continue to push for legislative and practical reform of the system that allows this abuse to take place.

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