How campaigners have beaten the Home Office against all the odds in 2020

by Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action

Hope is not a word that many will associate with 2020, but please stay with me.

The battle against Priti Patel’s cruel policies can sometimes feel an uphill struggle, but the Home Office’s incompetence and inhumanity mean we campaigners are slowly winning the war.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has campaigned with us, donated to keep our work going or simply stayed in touch and informed this year.

I know that a huge strength of our organisation is that we have an incredibly committed and galvanised community of people out there. Wherever you are and however you’re celebrating, I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.

2020 is a year in which – despite Priti Patel’s aggressive rhetoric and the pressures of COVID – we stopped her detaining and deporting thousands of people, from trafficking survivors to Windrush descendants.

It’s a historic year in which we exposed the inhumane conditions in detention centres, and all but emptied them. A year in which we came within just 64 votes in Parliament of ending the grotesque spectacle of indefinite detention for good.

2020 is a year in which resistance to the Home Office’s industrial-scale dehumanisation of human beings has never been stronger.

As someone who has worked in human rights policy over a 15-year career, I have never seen a department so politicised, so defensive, so willing to celebrate the hostile environment despite clear evidence of its racism.

The Home Office can appear to be an all-powerful monolith but they lost the moral high ground several decades ago, and it shows with every one of our huge wins.

Power instead increasingly lies in the collaborative efforts of activists, campaigners and lawyers uniting to protect human rights against a department that has lost its humanity.

Which is why it’s so important that in 2021 all those who care about these issues keep the faith and keep on campaigning.

Thank you once again to everyone for being part of it all. Stay safe, stay hopeful, and look after each other.

P.S. This Christmas, many people have chosen to help Detention Action get ready for the challenges of 2021 by setting up a monthly donation or by making a one-off donation. If you already have, thank you so much. If now is not the right time, then please know that we greatly appreciate it however you choose to support our work.

But if you would like to make a donation of any size this Christmas, please click here.