Friday, December 11, 2009

From my postbag

David Ritter of Greenpeace told a meeting in the Palace of Westminster that cattle rancing was responsible for 80% of Amazonian rainforest destruction. We could eat less beef.

Eleven Ahmadis have been murdered in Pakistan this year so far because of their faith. In most cases local mullahs have incited hatred against the Ahmadis. Many of these mullahs have armed guards paid for out of public funds, but no protection is afforded to the victims, and the murderers are hardly ever caught and punished. Extremist organisations such as the Khatme Nabuwwat freely incite hated against the Ahmadis and call on people to attack them.

The UN General Assembly's Third Committee has condemned the Iranian crackdown on protests against the sham elections held in June. The regime tortured and executed hundreds of demonstrators but was unable to prevent huge gatherings.

The Gatwich Detainees Welfare Group draws attention to the increasing number of detainees being held for months or even years, because there is no realistic prospect of their removal The Group also draws attention to the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse in detention centres, on which Alan West gave me a complacent and uninformative reply:

3 Dec 2009 : Column WA73

Immigration: Detention Centres


Asked by Lord Avebury

    To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the warnings they have received of the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse in immigration detention centres; and what assessment they have made of whether contractors managing these centres provide adequate staff to monitor the use of these substances, and take action when evidence of abuse comes to their attention. [HL129]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Each immigration removal centre (IRC) has a security department responsible for identifying threats, including drugs, and for developing strategies, responses and actions to counter these and to manage the risk.

For security reasons, we are unable to reveal the detail of the strategies. However, they are designed to minimise illegal entry to the centre of prohibited items including drugs and alcohol.

All removal centres are adequately staffed to provide a safe and secure environment for staff, detainees and visitors alike. Detention custody officers are all trained in searching techniques and substance awareness. All drug finds and incidents of trafficking are reported to the police and, where appropriate, detainee visits are monitored or visitors banned.

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