Faith leaders unite against “inhumane” use of indefinite detention

19 February 2018 – 4 Adar 5778

19 February 2018

Progressive rabbis have united with other faith leaders to issue a joint public statement calling on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to use her post-Brexit immigration bill to end the indefinite detention of immigrants who have been charged with no crime.

The statement – which is signed by Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh ministers – reads: “The routine use of indefinite detention is unjust, ineffective and inhumane. Evidence shows that it causes huge harm – not only to those detained, but to their family, children, friends and community.

“The UK is the only European country without a statutory time limit on immigration detention.”

“The time to act is now. We urge the Government to put some fairness, decency and due process into our immigration system and urgently put a 28-day time limit on detention.”

Almost 30,000 people are detained each year in the centres, with several hundred held for longer than one year. Survivors of torture, trafficking and rape are among those held in overcrowded conditions, where a recent investigation uncovered widespread self-harm and attempted suicides.

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, the chair of Liberal Judaism’s Rabbinic Conference, said: “Indefinite detention causes huge harm – not only to vulnerable people who are incarcerated, but to their family, their children, their friends and their community. We cannot ignore this injustice perpetrated in our name.”

Aaron was joined in his call by Rabbis Laura Janner-Klausner and Jonathan Wittenberg – the senior rabbis of Reform and Masorti Judaism – as well as the leaders of other faiths.

Canon Mark Oakley, chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, said: “This is not about immigration. It is about how we treat fellow human beings. It cannot wait until Brexit is done and dusted – the Government must include a 28-day time limit on detention in its immigration bill. This suffering and injustice is happening every day in all our names. We must not walk by on the other side.”

Find out more about the campaign on Liberty’s website.

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