28/11/2003

Human Rights Commission to visit asylum detainees

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is to visit asylum and immigration detainees being held at Maghaberry Prison on Monday.

The Chief Commissioner, Professor Brice Dickson, along with two other Commissioners, Lady Christine Eames and Rev. Harold Good, will meet senior management at the prison before going on to speak to asylum applicants and others being held under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

Mr Dickson said the Commission wanted to hear from the detainees about their experience of access to health care, legal advice and interpreting facilities among other entitlements.

"Holding asylum applicants and immigration detainees in prison goes against human rights standards. Prisons are not fit for that purpose," the Chief Commissioner said.

"We are aware of increasing legal and social difficulties facing asylum applicants. Those who support detention seem to have forgotten that asylum is a basic human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The consequence of claiming a right should not be detention in prison.”

Mr Dickson said the Commission had consistently expressed concern at the policy of holding asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in a high security prison alongside people convicted of serious crimes.

He also expressed concern about proposals in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday which he said would seek to criminalise undocumented asylum applicants.

(MB)

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

10 January 2020
New Commission Aims To Slash Gas Emissions
A new task force to enact transformative change on climate action has been established by Belfast City Council and Queen's University Belfast. The Belfast Climate Commission, made up of a range of organisations across the city, aims to play a role in taking necessary action to achieve government targets of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
28 January 2005
Belfast to hold international Human Rights conference
A major conference, bringing together over 20 international human rights leaders from 12 countries, will take place in Belfast this weekend.
20 February 2020
Explosive Device Found At West Belfast House
A security alert was established in west Belfast this morning after an explosive device was planted outside the home of Martin Finucane. The "crude explosive" was found in the Glenties Drive area in the early hours of Thursday 20 February. Mr Finucane is a prominent human rights campaigner and the brother of the murdered solicitor Pat Finucane.
19 June 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.
19 April 2021
Man Arrested In Connection With Murder Of Adrian Donohoe
A man has been arrested by Gardai investigating the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in January 2013. The suspect was detained in the Dundalk area shortly before 8.30am on Monday, 19 April. He is being held at Dundalk Garda Station. Detective Donohoe was shot outside a credit union in Louth during a raid.