19/06/2003

Cross-party delegation visits imprisoned asylum seekers

A cross-party delegation of Northern Ireland politicians will visit Maghaberry Prison today to highlight the plight of asylum seekers locked up in the high security prison.

The delegation to include Monica McWilliams of the Women's Coalition, Eileen Bell of the Alliance Party, Patricia Lewsley of the SDLP, Conor Murphy of Sinn Féin and Billy McCaughey of the PUP, will inspect the facilities where asylum seekers are held and speak with the imprisoned asylum seekers.

The visit is organised by the Refugee Action Group, a coalition of local human rights and ethnic minority organisations.

Patrick Corrigan, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Group, said: "The practice of imprisonment contravenes international human rights standards on the treatment of asylum seekers.

"Despite our repeated calls for this repugnant practice to end, the Government has told us it has no intention of halting its imprisonment policy. These asylum seekers are looking for a new home and all they get is a prison cell. Frankly, the Home Office should be ashamed of themselves.

"We are calling on the Government to put in place alternative arrangements for these asylum seekers – such as a hostel facility."

At present male asylum seekers are held in the same block as paramilitary prisoner Johnny Adair, albeit on separate floors, while the female asylum seekers are held amongst convicted female prisoners.

A recent survey commissioned by Amnesty International showed that almost nine out of 10 people in Northern Ireland are opposed to this policy.

(MB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 August 2019
Impact Of A&E Visits On Cancer Patients Highlighted
Cancer patients with at least one emergency admission in 2015 were twice as likely to die in hospital, a report studying those in their last year of life has found.
12 December 2018
Maghaberry Inmate Dies In Custody
A prisoner in Maghaberry has died in custody, the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) has confirmed. The 28-year-old man died in hospital on Tuesday, 11 December. His next of kin have been informed. Investigations into the death have been launched by the PSNI, Coroner and the Prisoner Ombudsman.
10 July 2018
Investigation Launched Into Death Of Prisoner
A 33-year-old prisoner in Maghaberry has died, according to the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS). The man passed away in hospital on Monday, 09 July. The PSNI, Coroner and the NIPS have launched investigations into the death.
21 May 2018
Maghaberry Prison Kitchen Scoops Top Food Hygiene Rating
Northern Ireland's busiest kitchen has scooped a top food hygiene rating. Maghaberry Prison, just outside Lisburn, serves on average 3,000 meals daily and is run by Prison Service staff and inmates. Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's environmental services has recently recognised its five-star status.
07 May 2019
Talks Begin To Restore Power-Sharing At Stormont
Political leaders from Northern Ireland's five main parties have met at Stormont today to begin talks to restore power-sharing. These new talks aim to break the impasse at Stormont, which saw the executive collapse in January 2017.