A band of No to Hassockfield supporters got together at the gates of Hassockfield/Derwentside this week to mark International Women’s Day, bringing bunches of flowers for the women locked up inside the IRC.
The four men guarding the gates (what did they think we were going to do!) received the bunches from us, and we just hope the flowers brought some beauty and colour into the distressed lives of the women they were meant for. We have no direct way of knowing, as information about the IRC and its occupants seems to be a matter of great secrecy. We continue to share what we do know with the local media and to state our case for closure.
Here’s one way we’ve learned about conditions inside. A group of MPs from the Westminster’s Women and Equalities Select Committee visited the IRC late last year, as part of their Inquiry into the UK Asylum Process and they shared their observations at the subsequent oral evidence session in January. Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick was grilled by Jarrow MP Kate Osborne, who was more than willing to share her experience of conditions in the IRC.
You can download a transcript of the Select Committee session here or watch it on Parliament TV.