A day I will never forget

Posted on March 6, 2011



That Friday in January 2011 will be a day that my six workmates and I will never forget. At 10 a.m. UK border agents entered our workplace saying that they had received a report about people working illegally there. For my mates and I it was a crushing blow because seven out of the nine of us were detained. For some it was the day when their dreams were shattered, for others it was the tragedy of being separated from their families as a result of this action. Among the seven detained, there were two women. One of them cried a lot out, of anger and impotence for not being able to do anything. Afterwards we were divided. The women were taken to a detention centre in north London and the men to another detention centre near Gatwick Airport.

Cases such as ours have been happening every day for the last two months following different raids of UK border agencies in workplaces and in places where many people spend time hanging out. Many people have been detained and taken to detention centres that to me are just like prisons. Hundreds of people are detained for over three months and up to three years for different reasons. For the Chinese, Indian and Pakistani for instance, it is impossible both to leave and to return to their countries since their embassies will not provide travel documents.

Of the seven detained, six were deported to their countries of origin, and I, thanks to God and to the efficient help of a few organisations acting in solidarity with migrants, got my freedom back. But I still have to walk a long way in search of the acknowledgement of my rights as a human being, the right to freedom, the right to free movement, the right to dignified work regardless of race, colour or the place where you are from.

I invite everyone to look for mechanisms to stop deportations, and to work and collaborate with sending information to the people detained in different detention centres. We have to fight so that stories like ours are not repeated and so that human rights are recognised in this and every other country in the world. Thank you.

Posted in: 2. Ed Zero