'I heard the noise of keys as the officers came for me. They opened the door and asked me to follow them. The idea that I might be put on a plane to return home began to sink in.’ Photo Credit: Russell Boyce/Reuters

I sought refuge from torture in the UK. Only to be locked up again

Article in The Guardian
13 October, 2017

An independent, impartial and educated judiciary, interested in the coherence of the legal system without interference of political objectives, is essential to protect the rights and freedoms of foreigners.

“In September 2016 the Home Office introduced an “adults at risk” policy that redefined torture to exclude torture committed by non-state actors like rebel forces or other armed groups. They then used this policy to lock up survivors who were tortured in these circumstances…

the high court has ruled that, by meddling with the torture definition and imprisoning survivors, the Home Office had acted unlawfully.

As well as fixing its flawed policy and restoring the wider definition of torture to recognise torture by non-state actors, the Home Office should deliver other reforms to protect torture survivors from detention, including access to independent heath assessments and good legal advice. Frontline staff in detention centres must also be trained to identify signs of trauma in order to release survivors of torture from detention without delay.

Furthermore, any independent medical evidence of torture must also be properly taken into account to ensure quality decisions on asylum claims. And crucially, survivors of torture must be immediately referred to specialist organisations who can help them to come to terms with their past.”

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