6 January 2005 Edition
SF slams detention of asylum seekers
As we go to print on Wednesday, Sinn Féin Councillor for North Belfast, David Kennedy, is due to raise a motion asking Belfast City Council to condemn the practice of the detention of asylum seekers in prison facilities.
Currently, asylum seekers are held at Maghaberry, Crumlin Road and Hydebank Prisons.
"The image as the only city on the islands of Britain and Ireland where the practice of detaining asylum seekers in prison facilities is conducted leaves Belfast in a challenging position and open to international criticism," said Kenedy. "Locking asylum seekers in prison is a disgraceful practice which breaches human rights standards and must be ended.
"Sinn Féin has already, following a visit to the Crumlin Road facility, raised concerns over the health and welfare of those detained.
"Tonight Sinn Féin will be asking Belfast City Council to join with the wide range of groups who stand in opposition to this practice, including the Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Amnesty International and all four of the main churches in the north, to name but a few.
"I am also calling for the immediate release of those currently being detained and for the British Government to review both its draconian immigration policies and the further detention and criminalisation of asylum seekers."