New Internationalist

Campsfield’s troubled history

campsfield protest [Related Image]
The Close Campsfield Campaign has been supporting detainees for 20 years. Lydia James under a Creative Commons Licence

Over the past 20 years Oxford’s Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre has seen breakouts, hunger strikes, riots and suicides – and a sustained campaign to close it down.

1993-2013

1993

25 November: Campsfield House opens, under private management by GSL (now G4S).

1994

10 January: Campaign to Close Campsfield is launched and meets for the first demonstration outside the detention centre two weeks later.

9 July: A Camp for Human Rights is evicted from outside the main gates of Campsfield after five weeks.

15 November: A former detainee marries a Campsfield kitchen staff member. The employee is sacked before the wedding.

1995

30 May: Two detainees are deported despite having been on hunger strike for over 30 days and being too weak to walk. One is hospitalized in India for several weeks.

1998

1 July: Refugee Council publish a report that shows 33 children aged under 16 were detained in Campsfield during 1997.

1999


6 March: A classical concert is organized for detainees inside Campsfield by Oxford students.

14 November: Twenty detainees protest on the roof at being detained for over a year.

2003

Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, concludes Campsfield is not ‘a place of safety’.

2005

27 June: 18-year-old Ramazan Kamluca from Kurdistan commits suicide. He is the youngest asylum seeker to take his own life while detained in Britain.

2006

1st June: GEO takes over management of Campsfield.

14th June: 120 detainees go on hunger strike.

2007


16 March: A riot breaks out amid allegations of overcrowding.

8 August: 26 detainees escape Campsfield after a fire; Nine escape re-capture.

2010

2 August: 147 detainees go on hunger strike to protest long-term detention and alleged abuse by prison guards.

2011

30 May: MITIE wins contract worth £27-million to run Campsfield for the next five years.

2 August: Ianos Dragutan, 31, from Moldova commits suicide.

2013

20 February: A child is released after two months detention, three years after the government promised to end child detention.

19 October: A fire allegedly started by an Afghan detainee destroys an accommodation block.

29-30 November: Close Campsfield Campaign marks 20 years of resistance to immigration detention with its 239th demo.

Researched and written by Lydia James


This timeline is published in conjunction with ‘Why are we locking up migrants?’ from New Internationalist's Detention issue.

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