If the Home Office is refusing to reveal the number of people who have been raped while waiting for a judgement on an asylum claim, we can conclude that it has definitely happened at least once.
Once is far too often.
Responsibility can only lie with the organisation running the centre; whether the perpetrator was a detainee or a member of staff, Serco should have prevented it.
But the Home Office refuses to answer the question, for fear of harming Serco’s “commercial interests”.
That is not acceptable.
As Home Secretary while this has been going on, new prime minister Theresa May will be responsible, overall, for events at Yarl’s Wood.
If she couldn’t safeguard the detainees there, why should we believe she’ll care any better for the citizens of the UK?
Let’s have a straight answer from her.
Perhaps it is time our so-called ‘honeymoon period’ with this person came to an abrupt end.
The Home Office is refusing to reveal how many detainees have been sexually assaulted or raped inside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire in case the information becoming public knowledge harms the “commercial interests” of private companies that are involved in running it.
Like all Government departments, the Home Office is subject to legislation that requires public bodies to disclose information that is in the public interest. However, since The Independent submitted a request for information about sexual violence against detainees in the centre in March, the Home Office has refused to disclose this information. A member of Home Office staff argued this was on the grounds that: “disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests” of people involved with running Yarl’s Wood.
The controversial detention centre holds women who have entered the UK seeking asylum, often while fleeing war or sexual violence in their home country. They are held while their immigration/ asylum status is established by the Home Office, before being given leave to remain or removed from the UK. It is operated by private company Serco on behalf of the Home Office.
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