Vigil for Bereket Yohannes at Harmondsworth

Vigil for Bereket Yohannes at Harmondsworth

Written by: Harmit Athwal

On a bitterly cold Sunday morning last week, over eighty people gathered outside Harmondsworth removal centre for a vigil in memory of 26-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker, Bereket Yohannes, who was found hanged in a shower block at Harmondsworth on 19 January.

Bereket’s is the eighth asylum seeker to take his own life in an immigration detention centre in six years and the third death at Harmondsworth. After his death sixty-one detainees at the centre signed a joint statement with ten demands concerning conditions. There have also been reports that those who signed the statement have now been moved to other removal centres across the country and others have allegedly been held in solitary confinement.

Related links

IRR News story Detainees punished for protesting after suicide

Read the full statement issued by 61 Harmondsworth detainees

National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

IRR News Story: Two asylum seekers took their own lives within 24 hours

IRR News Story: The human cost of immigration detention

IRR Press Release: Failing the vulnerable: the death of ten asylum seekers and other foreign nationals in UK detention


The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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