- United States
United Kingdom (UK) immigration authorities have been urged by the country’s Chief Prison Inspector to act more competently while responding to claims of torture by immigrants in UK. Investigating the Dover Immigration removal center, the Chief inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) seriously needs to reconsider its policies of responding to any torture claims that come its way. Inspector Hardwick claimed the detention center of treating the torture claims of detainees quite dismissively.
Earlier this week, the Chief Inspector of Prisons in UK released an inspection report conducted at the Kent based Dover immigration removal center. Hardwick said that the officials in the detention center did not come up to the expectations of the investigation. Hardwick accused the officials of making substandard and incomplete reports, lacking mostly the relevant material required while making a report. He said that the reports were made under the Detention Center rule 35. The rule specifies the manner and guidelines which the officers must follow while dealing with torture claims.
“The reports were poor,” Hardwick said, “mostly handwritten and difficult to read. Cases involving torture described scarring but lacked photographs or body maps.”
The inspector added that the details of abuse in the report were not comprehensive enough and lacked judgment to substantiate the scars matching the claimed abusive act.
“For example,” he said, “in a case where the detainee claimed to have been shot, there was no judgment on whether the scars were consistent with gunshot wounds.”
Hardwick said that the responses of the Border Agency were, although, dismissive but did not result in leading to release of the detainee.
To substantiate his claim of the UKBA reports being dismissive, the chief inspector mentioned another torture claim and the response that the agency gave to the claimant.
The torture claim had a report written by a certain Health care professional, stating that there were scars on the person of the victim. The agency, in response to the report, said that the claimant had no medical evidence to support his claim.
The agency’s response stated that the victim had claimed of being physically and sexually abused and assaulted, leaving him with back pain and sum internal injuries. But after stating these, the response became dismissive.
“Were it even vaguely credible,” the agency’s response stated, “that you were ill treated in the manner described, it is considered that you would have raised this at the earliest opportunity.”
The inspector said that the agency’s responses must be more comprehensive and consequential. The Chief inspector also mentioned some noted improvements in the center since last years’ inspections.
On the other hand, the UKBA also received some comments on its responses to immigrant torture claimants from Keith Best, chief executive of Freedom from Torture.
Best said that the attitude of the agency has not, in the least, benefited the torture claimants who are still in detention due to dismissals of the medical evidence provided by them to the agency. He said that cases, as cited by the chief inspector in his report, have become typical and appear more often than usual on regular basis.
In response to this, a UKBA spokesperson said, “Inspectors recognized that we have improved the way we deal with the rule 35 reports but there is more work to be done. We continue to tighten up the existing procedures and improve training for medical practitioners, caseworkers and staff working in removal centers.”
The spokesperson also clarified that torture claimants are detained only in exceptional circumstances, and the agency ensures that they are treated with utmost care.
Tags: Dover immigration removal center, Freedom from Torture, Immigrant torture claimants, UK Border Agency, UK immigration, UKBA, United Kingdom