Yarl’s Wood human rights challenge at high court

By politics.co.uk staff

Lawyers representing four women held at a holding centre for immigrants are taking their case to the high court today.

Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) are expected to apply for a judicial review at the high court to assess their claim that Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre breaches articles three, five and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Private firm Serco denies the allegations as “unfounded and untrue”, but Paul Shiner of PIL told the Guardian that the incarceration of the four women was “disgraceful”.

“It is unlawful and we are calling, on behalf of our clients, for the policy to be struck down and for there to be an independent investigation,” he said.

It comes amid a dispute over whether or not a hunger strike begun last month at the centre is ongoing or not.

The government claims that, while those involved are refusing their formal meals, they are finding food through other means – by buying it from the shop and vending machines.

“They have all been seen by doctors who have no concerns about their health,” Ms Hillier told the Guardian.

Action for Women insisted the strike was ongoing, however, in a statement issued on Friday.

“We are in daily contact with hunger strike[r]s and they have consistently pressed us to publicise their situation saying that media coverage is the best protection against retribution and further violence,” it said.