Independent Asylum Commission finds mistreatment of asylum seekers at detention centre

An asylum-seeker was “treated like an animal” during a seven-month stay at a detention centre, according to the initial findings of an independent review of the asylum system published today.

The Zimbabwean woman told charity the Independent Asylum Commission that she had experienced “mental torture” and said staff made her feel as though she “did not belong”.

Another asylum-seeker from Uganda gave evidence of how he was left with blood “oozing” from his wrists because he was handcuffed too tightly when Home Office staff tried to remove him.

Larry Wright, formerly the chaplain to staff and detainees at Yarl’s Wood removal centre, criticised the “prison-like” regime there and called for more outside monitors to help prevent abuse.

Sir John Waite, co-chair of the commission, said he hoped the review, which is continuing throughout the year, would “raise real questions for the Home Office and those who run detention centres.”

The commission will publish its full report and recommendations next year.

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