In response to the Chief Inspector of Prisons report on the recent inspection of Dover Immigration Removal Centre published today, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said:
“This welcome report is further evidence that asylum seekers in detention are being denied access to justice. Without legal advice and access to information to help inform them of their situation, how can detainees know if their case is progressing, and be sure of what their rights are?
“It is unacceptable that some people at Dover IRC have been in detention for over four years with no prospect of being removed due to poor management of their cases. Where detention is used, it must only be used as a last resort, and for the shortest time possible. We endorse the Chief Inspector’s recommendation to monitor and review each case in a timely and organised way.
“The government has pledged to improve the asylum system – a move we welcome – and we are pleased they are looking into ways of ensuring asylum seekers have early access to legal advice. It is imperative asylum seekers have high quality legal advice from the beginning to the end of the asylum process, so that those seeking safety here are not wrongfully detained or removed to countries where their lives are in danger, and to ensure those who are in need of protection are given it.”