Stop the closed-door policy making on immigration detention

Right now, the Home Office is reviewing the definition of torture within its Adults at Risk policy. If it gets this definition wrong, vulnerable people, like torture survivors, could be wrongly detained, causing significant pain and distress. It is vital we act now and make sure they get it right this time.

Detention is hugely damaging for people who’ve survived torture: it causes or worsens anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, suicidal thoughts and self-harm. 

A recent High Court judgment ruled that the definition of torture that was being used in the Home Office’s Adults at Risk policy was unlawful and was resulting in the unlawful detention of survivors.

The Home Office has just drafted a new definition of torture behind closed doors, inviting input from only a small number of organisations and without the benefit of the findings of Stephen Shaw’s independent review of vulnerable people in detention.

We fear that, without comprehensive consultation with experts in international law and clinical practice, the new torture definition will not protect survivors. 

This definition needs examination from experts before it goes to Parliament. We call on the Home Office to halt the current redrafting process and allow time for proper consultation and scrutiny so we can get this vital piece of policy right this time. 

Please join us in adding your name to our letter to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, by Friday 23 March when we will be handing it in to the Home Office with Lord Alf Dubs.

Yours faithfully, 

Sonya Sceats