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May 28 2010

Colin Firth wrote a note in support of the event,

Dear Release Carnival,

I’m afraid I will be away in Italy on the day of the Carnival and march. So sorry I won’t be able to attend.

Congratulations on the getting all this together; such an important initiative. The website is very powerful.

I hope the event gets the attention it deserves. I’ll spread the word.

Best wishes,


May 25 2010

The press release is out, which is really exciting!

‘A march calling for an

immediate end to detention of children and families for immigration purposes — the first in a series of public demonstration that will carry on as long as there are children in detention

Hosted by SOAS Detainee Support (SDS) in the week of International Children’s Day


On Saturday 5th June musicians, circus acts, choirs, dancers and clowns will join activists and ex-detainees to protest against the abhorrent practice of detaining children for immigration purposes. Join us!

We will assemble in Torrington Square at 12 noon:

Speakers include ex-detainees, MP Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem Dave Ravel, Clare Sambrook of End Child Detention Now, representatives from the Children’s Society, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Citizens for Sanctuary, Refugee and Migrant Justice, No One is Illegal and The Helen Bamber Foundation.

2PM proceeding to Downing Street to deliver a letter and a petition at Number 10.


SOAS Detainee Support & Release Carnival


phone: 07545125188 / 07889189118 / 07861460235


School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Every year, some 2000 children are detained in the UK’s immigration prisons. The average length of stay is 15 days, but many families stay for longer periods of time. In one case a child had been detained for 190 days. Numerous reports from the Children’s Commissioner, the Medical Royal Colleges, BiD, Refugee and Migrant Justice, and others have exposed the damage caused by detention to children’s psychological and physical health, development and well-being.

We urge the government to swiftly honour its pledge to end child detention and to immediately release all families currently in detention. Furthermore, any alternatives to detention must put the welfare and best interests of children first, before the administrative convenience of government.

‘Your case has been dismissed, today you’re being detained,’ she said … I started screaming ‘please, I don’t want to go’. My mum too was screaming … We were taken to Yarl’s Wood [removal centre in Bedfordshire]. That’s the worst place in my life. I lost hope that we were going to go back to Glasgow. There was no more happiness in my life.’

-Precious, 10 years old.

SOAS Detainee Support Group, a student-led initiative, works in solidarity with asylum-seekers and other migrants in immigration detention centres. We aim to reduce isolation through visits and empower those detained by giving sign-post advice and lobbying for an end to the use of immigration detention, with particular focus on detained children.’

May 20 2010

12 families currently detained in Yarls Wood have written a letter to Nick Clegg. Read the letter here,

May 19 2010

The Home Office has declared that detention of children will end in Dungavel, Scotland. While we certainly welcome this as a small step towards a more humane set of immigration policies, Release Carnival and SOAS Detainee Support also see this as inadequate progress. Families were only ever held in Dungavel for maximum 72 hours, before being transported to Yarl’s Wood IRC in Bedfordshire. With this new step in policy, it only means that children and families will be transported directly to Yarl’s Wood. We hope that politicians will listen to the many people attending Release Carnival, and release all children and families currently held in the UK’s immigration removal centres immediately!

May 17 2010

The UKBA has issued a press release on the 15th of May, which is unfortunately not very optimistic. The government has only so far committed to a ‘review’ of detention of children, but has not indicated when they wish the practice to end. SOAS Detainee Support and Release Carnival see no reason why all families and children are not immediately released. There is no evidence that they will abscond, and most have the opportunity to move back to the NASS accommodation, which they lived in prior to detention. We urge the coalition government not to delay the abolition of their current policy of detaining children and families, and immediately release all families currently held in the UK’s immigration removal centres!

(see the press release here, )

May 16 2010

Have a look at our facebook page! And join the event! And invite your friends and families to the carnival as well!

15 May 2010

SOAS Detainee Support and Release Carnival welcome the government’s pledge to end child detention! This is amazing news, and we are excited to hear their proposal for when and how this will happen! However, we feel that the promised ‘review’ detaining children is inadequate progress. There is no reason to detain children and families, as their is no evidence that they will abscond. We therefore maintain that Release Carnival is as important as ever, and we call for the immediate release of all Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel families. At the same time, we want to ensure that any proposed alternatives to detention are humane and put the interest of the child first!

14 May 2010

No One Is Illegal has also offered to speak, and we are excited to hear about their perspective on immigration and detention!

13 May 2010

Helen Bamber from the Helen Bamber Foundation has kindly offered to speak at the Carnival, and we are so pleased

and and excited to hear her speak on the 5th of June!

10 May 2010

The new government has promised to end child detention! This is exciting news, and we will make sure to hold them to it!

8 May 2010

We are very pleased to announce that journalist/author and campaigner for End Child Detention Now, Clare Sambrook will join us on the 5th of June, and speak at Torrington Square!

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