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Death in Yarl's Wood

On Sunday 30 March, a woman who was being detained in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre passed away. She has been named as Christine Case from Jamaica. One of her friends in Yarl's Wood told us yesterday, 'We are very sad and grieving for her now. They want everything to return to normal but that isn't possible for us. We wanted to send a condolence card to her family but Serco told us they wouldn't help us. We all feel very unsafe and frightened and as if no-one cares about what happens to us here.'
There are unconfirmed reports that the woman had been previously complaining of chest pains and was not given appropriate medical attention.
We cannot comment on whether or not this is true, but we do note that in our recent research a majority of women who had been detained in Yarl's Wood told us that the healthcare was 'bad' or 'very bad'.
Up to 405 individuals can be held at Yarl's Wood at any one time. In our recent research, we found that the majority of women we spoke to who were held there after seeking asylum had survived rape or other torture in their home countries.

Debate in Parliament

On Monday, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper initiated a debate in Parliament about the death in Yarl's Wood, and stated: 'Research by Women for Refugee Women raises concerns about physical and mental health support [in detention].'
Other members of Parliament voiced their concerns about the detention of women in Yarl's Wood. Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, stated that there was 'a growing chorus of concerns about the experiences of women  at Yarl’s Wood', and Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford, said that 'detaining women for immigration purposes seems to me to be ineffective, costly and unjust'.

Meltem: 'You have to be brave'

Meltem Avcil, who was detained as a child in Yarl's Wood, started the petition to end the detention of refugee women. In the Guardian Weekend magazine on Saturday, she said: "I did feel insecure when I started the campaign – but in the end, you have to be brave. Why go through all that if not to do something about it?"

Please forward this email to three of your friends today, asking them to sign the petition. The only way forward is through solidarity.

Our mailing address is:
Women for Refugee Women, Tindlemanor, 52 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RT

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