Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee (CPT) carries out a visit to the United Kingdom

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit on immigration matters to the United Kingdom from 27 March to 6 April 2023
Council of Europe anti-torture Committee (CPT) carries out a visit to the United Kingdom

The main objective of the visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of persons held under immigration legislation, both in immigration removal centres and prison establishments. The visit also afforded the delegation the possibility to examine the effectiveness of the safeguarding procedures in place for vulnerable persons deprived of their liberty in immigration detention centres accommodating both men and women.

The visit took place in the context of the debates on the Illegal Immigration Bill and the consequences this legislation will have, in particular on the treatment of children and vulnerable adults seeking refuge in the United Kingdom.

During the visit, the delegation held consultations with senior officials from the Home Office responsible for immigration matters such as the Directors of Detention Services, International and Return Services Command, Foreign National Offender Returns Command and National Returns Progression Command. Exchanges with Ministry of Justice and HM Prisons and Probation Service officials also took place.

In addition, meetings were held with David Neal, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, Martin Lomas, deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales as well as with representatives of Medical Justice, the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID), Jesuit Refugee Service and Detention Action.  

At the end of the visit, the delegation provided the authorities of the United Kingdom with its preliminary observations. The Chair of the UK National Preventive Mechanism, Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, participated in this meeting.

The visit was carried out by the following CPT members:

  • Jari Pirjola (Head of Delegation)
  • Marius Caruana
  • Nikola Kovačević
  • Helena Papa
  • Elisabetta Zamparutti

They were supported by Hugh Chetwynd, Head of Division of the CPT Secretariat.

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty

Establishments under the authority of the Home Office

  • Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC)
  • Colnbrook IRC
  • Colnbrook Short-Term Holding Facility
  • Derwentside IRC
  • Harmondsworth IRC

Establishments under the Ministry of Justice

  • Pentonville Prison, London
  • Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London

The CPT and the United Kingdom


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