Freedom from Torture response to the Shaw Review

The home office

Freedom from Torture and Survivors Speak Out respond to the publication of the government-commissioned Shaw Review on welfare in immigration detention.

Sile Reynolds, Lead Asylum Policy Advisor at Freedom from Torture, said:

Shaw has delivered a stunning indictment of the immigration detention estate and its impact on the lives of vulnerable people like survivors of torture.

We welcome Shaw’s vindication of our concerns about the operation of ‘Rule 35’ doctors’ reports, but caution strongly against any change that will ratchet up the evidential threshold before a suspected survivor of torture is released. We have said all along that the problem with Rule 35 is not the rule itself but its chronic misapplication.

When a detention centre doctor expresses concern that a person may be a survivor of torture, release should follow in all but the most exceptional cases.

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire now has the opportunity to succeed where his predecessors have failed by cracking down on systematic thwarting by his staff of the Rule 35 safeguard. We have mountains of evidence of failure by the Home Office to release without good cause when this is what the medical report requires.”

Kolbassia Haoussou, Coordinator of the Survivors Speak Our Network, said:

For torture survivors detention is particularly pernicious because it brings back the terrible memories of arrest and imprisonment we have already suffered. The immigration removal centres provide little medical or therapeutic support so a detainee’s mental and physical health inevitably deteriorates. No torture survivor should be detained.”

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