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Justice & Peace Scotland, Close Dungaval rally, at Dungaval House, Immigration Removal Centre, Sunday 25th Nov 2019.
Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960

Dungavel Immigration Centre protest sees Bishop call for an end to detaining asylum seekers

Bishop William Nolan of Galloway Diocese called on the UK Government to adopt a ‘more welcoming policy towards those in need’ as he addressed the crowd protesting outside Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre last weekend. - By Colette Cooper

President of Justice and Peace Scotland, Bishop William Nolan called for an end to immigration detention in Scotland on Sunday November 24 as he joined members of Justice and Peace Scotland, Glasgow University students and Glasgow Refugee and Asylum Seeker Solidarity (GRASS) at a protest at Dungavel.

Bishop Nolan said: “I came to Dungavel last year for the first time and I know so many of you have been regular visitors over the years, so I commend you all for that great consistency and that great solidarity with the people who are held here in detention.”

Not a threat

According to the Bishop, those who tried to visit people in Dungavel last year were told to leave and return later, and those who brought gifts were told to leave them outside.

“We wrote to the Home Office last year to get an explanation as to why we were treated so badly when visiting Dungavel. Whenever we come, this place is on lock-down for two hours before we come and two hours after we leave, as if we are some sort of threat,” he said. “Last year there was a police car that drove up and left after five minutes because it was clear we were no threat.

“We had a Catholic Bishop, several MSPs from the Scottish Parliament and lots of law abiding citizens—how are we a threat to anyone? If they’re not treating us with respect, it’s hardly surprising that the migrants and those seeking asylum don’t get treated with respect either.”


Bishop Nolan also addressed a group of young people from Glasgow University who went to Germany and met asylum seekers and migrants. He said that ‘Germany has a much more welcoming policy towards those in need than our government does here in the UK.’

“The people in prisons in Scotland who have committed a crime know when they are going to be released but those who are detained here don’t know when they are going to get out, they could be held here indefinitely,” he said.

“We hope and pray, at some stage, this blot will be removed, and we will be living in a country, in a Scotland where those in need are helped, those looking for a new home are welcomed and those suffering persecution and violence, and perhaps poverty or oppression, in their own countries will come to Scotland and receive a welcome.”
GRASS also donated clothes and other items to the detainees being held in Dungavel.

Justice and Peace Scotland said: “[It was] great to see so many students from Glasgow University join us today and speak so well on how hostile immigration policies are affecting students. Delighted to have you all join the fight to end immigration detention!”

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