2017 Campaign Update: End Immigration Detention, Decriminalise Sex Work

13 May 2017

Deputy leader Amelia Womack: "The detention of asylum seekers in centres such as Yarl's Wood is inhumane, costly and totally unnecessary"

Amelia speaking during launch

The Green Party launched its manifesto for gender equality outside Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire. The 2017 manifesto's three key policies all relate to providing safety for all, regardless of gender.

The party is calling for an end to immigration detention, leading to the closing of Yarl's Wood where the majority of female asylum seekers are held while their claims are being processed. In the short term, the Green Party are calling for the release of women who have experienced sexual violence so that their claim can be processed in the community, and would ban male staff from coming into contact with female detainees, who currently supervise detainees while showering, dressing and using the toilet. Hundreds of complaints about sexual abuse and mistreatment have been raised by Yarl's Wood detainees over the last decade.

The Greens are also promising to provide safety for sex workers through decriminalisation of both the sale and purchase of sex. This comes after UN and Amnesty International recommendations over the last year, showing that making sex work illegal only reduces safety.

Joanna from SWARM and Amelia Womack Deputy Leader

Amelia with Joanna from SWARM protesting against the deportation of sex workers

The Green Party has also pledged to reverse the cuts to health care that that have disproportionately affected women and other marginalised groups

The manifesto went on to announce measures to improve mental health services, close the gender pay gap and support unpaid carers, those who are disabled and older women, and policies to increase gender parity in government.

Amelia Womack, Green Party deputy leader, said:

"Detaining asylum seekers is inhumane, costly and totally unnecessary. Women who are coming to the UK seeking refuge are being detained in appalling conditions in centres like Yarl's Wood, often for years with no end to their incarceration in sight. We can be so much better than this, a confident and caring country that welcomes people in need instead of closing our borders, building walls and locking up vulnerable people who need help. The bold policies we're announcing today show that the Green Party is committed to standing up for everyone, and we are not afraid to speak out about issues other parties would rather shy away from. From asylum seekers to sex workers, as well as all of us who use the NHS, these policies set us on the path to building a tolerant, inclusive society."

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