PRESS RELEASE /// For immediate release
COMPANY FOUND GUILTY OF BREACHING HUMAN RIGHTS MANAGING ASYLUM HOUSING SERVICE IN NORTH WEST
- North West Campaign launch to “Stop Serco” - Public Meeting, Tuesday, 24th July 2012, 6.30pm, Main Hall, Friends' Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS
A campaign against the privatisation of the asylum housing service in the North West will be launched in Manchester on Tuesday, July 24th. It follows last month's successful UK launch of the Stop Serco campaign in Glasgow.
Campaigners are demanding that the UK Border Agency contract for asylum housing in the UK is withdrawn immediately from Serco and G4S – currently under fire for its catastrophic handling of the Olympics.
Serco, a leading private contractor of public services, was awarded the asylum housing contract for the North West and Scotland. The company runs Yarl's Wood and Colnbrook detention centres and was recently found to be in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights – prohibiting torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – for shackling a man for eight days. While he was in hospital, the man was restrained by either ratchet cuffs or closet chains (handcuffs at the end of a chain attached to a security officer) – even while showering, using the toilet, during medical consultations and treatment, and when he was asleep.
Serco is taking over the management of an increasing number of public services in the UK (it runs Manchester Aquatics Centre) and is frequently accused of prioritising profit over quality of service. This week, the company was found to have failed to meet its legal requirements to provide sufficient staff, training and monitoring for an out of hours GP service it runs in Cornwall.
The company, which has been the subject of many claims of abuse and assault by people seeking asylum held in Yarl's Wood and Colnbrook, says it has a non eviction policy. But the implementation of Serco's contract in Scotland has already led to the proposed eviction into destitution of 83 people. In the North West, Serco is setting ridiculous timescales for the transition phase of their new housing contract: 10 days for single people and 14 days for families.
Speakers at Tuesday's meeting in Manchester include Glasgow Welcomes Refugees, the No to G4S campaign, and trade unionists fighting against privatisation and the cuts in public services.
For more information: Rhetta Moran 07776264646 or Kath Grant 07812471047