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Every year 10th of thousands of people, including children, are locked up in prison-like conditions without a time limit, lack of judicial oversight, inadequate access to legal advice & poor healthcare. Their crime: simply being migrants or asylum seekers.

The Home Office consistently ignores its own guidelines and detains pregnant women, children and survivors of torture. The increased use of immigration detention across the UK is extremely concerning: Home Office figures show 32,446 entered detention in 2015, a 7% rise over the previous year, while the number of detainees who are subsequently removed from the UK following detention continues to decrease: down from 64% in 2011 to 45% in 2015. It appears that detention is increasingly being used as routine practice. This is wholly contrary to UNHRC’s guidelines, which state that detention should be used as an exceptional measure only.

Immigration detention is extremely disorientating for individuals. The mental and physical state of detainees as experienced by visitors to detention centers is alarming. From January 2007 until the end of 2015 there have been 2,230 attempted suicides across the UK Detention estate and over 16,786 persons were on suicide watch.

Detention centers are rarely discussed in the media or on the street. Throughout the UK there are many visitor groups and human rights advocates visiting people in detention and who try to change public perception of migrants and refugees. Often they are the only link to the outside world for detainees. Their aim is to offer support, practical advice and friendship to people held in these centers. Most are part of an extensive network of visiting groups to IRCs and a wide range of support and monitoring groups and can help to make contact to get advice or direct assistance with a number of issues such as health or legal support.

‘Larne House Visitor Group’ is a local volunteer group doing just that. We visit detainees in ‘Larne House’, which is a Short Term Holding Facility (STHF) here in Northern Ireland. This site is still being developed so please check back frequently. Some further information is already provided - just click through the menu above.
We are looking for volunteers. Interested? Get in touch.