The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has raised a number of concerns related to immigration issues in the United Kingdom, following an ad hoc visit to the country early last year. The main objective of the CPT’s visit, which took place from 27 March to 6 April 2023, was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of people being held under immigration laws, both in immigration removal centres (IRCs) and in prisons.
Their report highlights many good practices in IRCs aimed at minimising the trauma of detainees. However, this situation was not helped by uncertainty over the length of their detention and the use of prison-like immigration detention centres such as Brook House and Colnbrook. The Committee also noted the UK’s positive commitment to ensuring that vulnerable people are not detained when that is harmful to their well-being. Nevertheless, more needs to be done to ensure that relevant measures operate effectively. Steps must also be taken to improve the flow of information and to remove the uncertainty surrounding the future of people detained in IRCs.
The CPT underlined that foreign national offenders should be transferred from prison to an immigration centre once they have served their sentence, in line with their new legal status. The Committee also states that the UK’s Illegal Migration Bill 2023 and the Agreement with Rwanda both raise multiple concerns over the treatment of vulnerable people and the removal of foreign nationals to a country where they may be exposed to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment which is prohibited under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The report has been published together with the response of the UK authorities.