Samphire (originally named Dover Detainee Visitor Group) was founded in response to the opening of the Dover Immigration Removal Centre (DIRC) where over 300 men were held with little contact with the outside world. A group of volunteers set up Samphire in 2002, supported by Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID) and Refugee Action. This evolved into our Detention Support project which provided a range of support for detainees in Dover IRC until 2015 when the centre was suddenly closed.
Unfortunately the closure of the centre does not reflect a change in detention policy more broadly. The UK continues to be the only country in Europe to use indefinite detention with the Inspector of Prisons recently raising alarm about conditions in detention centres. Following our long relationship with detention, Samphire lobbies for policy change as part of networks which include The Detention Forum and Still Human Still Here. To find out more about detention policy and the experiences of detainees please visit Samphire’s Detained in the UK site.