Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Feminism, Human Rights

Yarlswood refuses xmas for imprisoned children

I heard on Sunday morning of an asylum seeker who was picked up yesterday and sent to Yarlswood women and children’s detention center. I have visited and met some of the women in Yarlswood and personally know two women, a young Nigerian lesbian and a young Ugandan woman both deported last year to Lagos and this year to Kampala – two cities where neither has lived or has family. The Ugandan woman had spent 5 years within the legal process of seeking asylum on the basis of sexual assault. Every few weeks asylum seekers have to check in with the police. As the date nears one becomes more and more anxious wondering if this will be the time they decide to physically grab you and send you to Yarlswood and 24 hours later on a plane.

Once again, the papers are full of reports about children being placed in Yarlswood which is run by a private security company SERCO. The horror of Yarlswood is that it is a prison yet no one imprisoned there has committed a crime. Still they are locked up, harassed, subject to body searches, abuse and sexual assault by guards, and wait for the moment they will be physically restrained en route to Gatwick or Heathrow and forced on to a plane. The latest story centers on SERCO refusing to allow two Anglican pastors from bringing Christmas presents for the children.

The Mothers’ Campaign of the All African Women’s group are mothers who have had to flee to the UK. The mothers had to make the very difficult decision to leave their children behind because they felt they would be safer without them. They have launched a petition for family reunion which they plan to submit on Mothers Day in March 2010. You can sign here. .


  1. This is just so painful, I don’t even know what to say. Very very mean thoughts towards people who implemented this “plan” and the people who agree with them, cross my mind. I will go and sign the petition but I have little hope that things will change because asylum seekers are our biggest enemies right?

    Horrible. Just horrible.
    .-= deviousdiva´s last blog ..New Poll =-.

  2. chika

    How scandalous@refusing Chrismas presents to those kids. I once flew from Uganda to Brussels on the now defunct SABENA and shared a row with a group of Ethiopian children (I think) who were being sent to Europe to be rehabilitated and I was not served tea or soda until I had screamed hoarse that I was not part of the group. A member of the crew apologised and told me they were under strict instructions not to serve them anything but water and dry bread (honestly!) How much extra does it cost an airline to give children tea? or soda? or jelly for their bread? I could barely drink my tea. I was ashamed to be human

  3. Thanks for posting this. I’ve signed the petition.