Our attention has been drawn to a post by Green Party member and Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies and Religion at the University of Stirling, Dr Michael Marten.
Dr Marten wrote to two of the Stirling Candidates in the General Election, Labour’s Johanna Boyd and our own Steven Paterson. His letter ( you can read the full post here) was asking for the candidates views, on the UK’s operation of detention for asylum seekers, where currently these people often fleeing from persecution on Religious, Political or other grounds can be detained for indefinite periods. The UK Government has opted out of the EU Returns Directive which states detention of no longer that 18 months should be applied and recently an All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and Migration recommended that the next government introduce a time limit of 28 days on detention.
Steven Paterson’s reply acknowledged that “Some of the practices employed at the Dungavel detention centre in Scotland……… have been absolutely shameful and show why we need a new direction when it comes to asylum and immigration policy.” He continued, “It is time for a new approach which prioritises compassion and fairness over punishment and isolation.”
This view was echoed today in FMQ’s when SNP Party leader Nicola Sturgeon stated, “Seeking asylum is a right, not a Crime…..” when replying to a question posed by Christine Grahame on a request sent to the Home Office by the Scottish Government, on the subject of an Inspection of the Dungavel Detention Centre.
However the reply Dr Marten (formerly a Labour voter in most previous General Elections) received from Johanna Boyd left him astonished and angry.
Boyd singularly failed to acknowledge the human tragedy of limitless detention and instead addressed the issue by way of stating “Whilst the debate around a detention limit is important, I am concerned that currently this Government is letting thousands of people who shouldn’t be here spend years in detention paid for by the public when they could and should be on a plane home”
This bewildering lack of regard for the human rights of detainees from a member of the Labour party, a party that once prided itself on standing up for the weak in our society shows just how far they have fallen. The reply might have come from a UKIP candidate! She goes on “The Government needs to be far more efficient in dealing with deportation cases and at the same time do more to ensure that they are handled in a humane and professional manner.
If elected, I shall certainly look closely at the inquiry recommendations with a view to reducing time spent in detention.”
We are wondering? #VoteLabour #GetUKIP ?