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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Home Office meets hunger strikers
Campsfield House Oxfordshire
The protest started after a High Court ruling
Home Office officials have met with a group of asylum seekers on hunger strike at one of Britain's largest immigration detention centres.

About 90 people started the protest at Campsfield House, Kidlington in Oxfordshire, on Saturday.

That number has now fallen, but more than 60 are still said to be refusing food.

The action started following a High Court ruling that the detention of four Kurdish asylum seekers at Oakington refugee centre in Cambridgeshire was unlawful.

They are innocent people and feel a strong sense of injustice

Theresa Hayter

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said he was "deeply disturbed" by the ruling.

The Kurdish detainees at Oakington had claimed that their detention was a breach of their human rights to security and liberty.

Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford, Theresa Hayter, from the group Campaign to Close Campsfield, said she had spoken to a number of the detainees over the weekend.

"I have been to visit a Nigerian who has been separated from his family for nine months.

"He feels quite desperate at the treatment he's receiving.

"None of these people has committed any offence.

'Human rights'

"They are innocent people and feel a strong sense of injustice.

"They feel quite rightly that their human rights should be no less infringed in Campsfield than in Oakington."

A spokesman for the Home Office said they were continuing to monitor the situation at Campsfield House.

The judgment from Mr Justice Collins will not fully come into effect until 5 October and the Home Office has indicated it intends to continue current practices while it appeals.

If the ruling is upheld, it could mean the government having to pay out millions of pounds in compensation.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"Thousands of asylum seekers could now sue the government"
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