Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
AVID is the national membership network for all volunteer visitors to immigration detainees. Since 1994 we have worked to ensure those in immigration detention are supported and have access to volunteer befrienders. We have membership visitors groups who visit in every IRC in the UK, as well as in some short term holding facilities and prisons. Our focus is those who are already in detention in the UK.
Hibiscus Initiatives is a UK based charity which supports foreign national women in prison and both men and women detained in Immigration Removal Centres. Hibiscus Initiatives provide welfare, advice, advocacy, volunteering and befriending in prisons; they provide assistance and support on voluntary returns and reintegration in home countries to people in Immigration Detention Centres. For those released into the UK Hibiscus Initiatives can also offer assistance with community resettlement and reintegration.
Justice First Limited was established in 2006 to work with people in the Tees Valley who are seeking asylum. Our core activity is to assist people whose appeals have been rejected to re-engage with the legal system and to avoid destitution. When an appeal is turned down financial support is withdrawn and the asylum seeker is faced with the bleak alternatives of accepting deportation or ‘going underground’. Justice First seeks to help people remain within the legal framework of our country and to advise on the further options available. It also seeks to provide for the needs of our clients by offering social, emotional and practical support and to use our experience and accumulated knowledge to influence and recommend improvements in the asylum system, locally, regionally and nationally. Most recently, we have recognised the need to compile information about those returned to danger and our report, ‘Unsafe Return’ documents the experiences of returnees to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This can be found on the website. We also aim to raise awareness of the plight of those seeking asylum by visits to schools, churches and community organisations.
Right to Remain
Right to Remain is the new name for NCADC, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. The nature of their work has changed in response to the changing environment of campaigning for migrants’ right to remain in the UK. Campaigning for justice in an asylum and immigration case cannot just begin when removal/deportation is imminent. Their work is increasingly around raising awareness of the legal processes involved in the asylum and immigration system, helping to make sure migrants understand the process better and know what their rights are. Effective campaigns are not just campaigns against deportation/removal: they are campaigns for the right to stay. See the ‘Deportation Toolkit’.
SOAS Detainee Support Group
SOAS Detainee Support, c/o Co-president Sports and Societies, School of Oriental and African Studies
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Tel: +44 (0)7 43 84 07 570 (Lyca)
SOAS Detainee Support Group is a student-led initiative working in solidarity with asylum seekers and other migrants in and outside detention centres. The group aims to reduce isolation through visits to empower detainees and to campaign for an end to the use of immigration controls especially the use of Immigration Detention. They started in 2005 and currently have about 60 visitors per year visiting over 80 detainees in three different Immigration Removal Centres in the United Kingdom. They receive their referrals from individuals in and outside of detention directly through contacting our Paid Co-ordinator as listed above. However The also accept referrals through other organisations or concerned individuals.
Waging Peace / Article 1
Phone: +44 (0)2 08 19 19 235
Originally started in 2004 to campaign on the genocide in Darfur, Waging Peace has expanded its work to encompass all of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, documenting, campaigning and lobbying on human rights abuses committed there. Starting in 2008, Waging Peace’s sister charity Article 1 provides advice and assistance to the Sudanese diaspora in the UK with a particular focus on helping those who are the most vulnerable and who are seeking asylum in the UK. We use our expertise on Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan to ensure that the UK government is acting in a joined up manner and we provide information and research to Parliamentarians, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and also to the Home Office’s Country of Information team so try to ensure UK asylum policy is representative of the situation on the ground.
We work closely with Sudanese communities in the UK and facilitate letters from the various tribal and political groups to help to verify an asylum seeker’s ethnicity and/or political affiliation. We also gather third party evidence on human rights violations in Sudan in support of asylum cases. We help to gain legal representation for those who need it and assist solicitors with their work, using our particular understanding of the Sudans. We also work to support asylum seekers in a wider capacity, acting as a referral agency, facilitating their access to benefits and services.