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Bell calls for action on refugee accommodation

February 10, 2004 12:00 AM

ALLIANCE Party Deputy Leader Eileen Bell MLA has said that the British Government has yet to learn that internment doesn't work, as it continues to jail people without trial if they are refugees.

Speaking after today's Refugee Action Group conference on immigration procedures in Northern Ireland, Mrs Bell stated:

"The Government is in denial if it cannot see how human rights are being abused by this systematic internment of refugees. There is no presumption of innocence, and this unjustifiably leads to refugees being seen as criminals.

"At the same time as the Government announces Hate Crime measures to tackle racist crime, it is actually locking up the people most at risk of being a victim of a racial attack. In fact, it is locking them up in Maghaberry prison with members of a terrorist organisation linked to the recent spate of racist attacks.

"That is no mark of a civilised society, and it is incredible that the Home Office is refusing to even discuss this matter with politicians. I believe it is essential that adequate accommodation is found for refugees, and that the Government should stop this process of criminalisation immediately."

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