Refugee children should have a genuine chance to seek asylum

The real asylum policies in Europe today largely ignore children among refugees. They are often not listened to and rather treated as if they were possessions belonging to their parents. It is often forgotten that they could have their own reasons for seeking protection. Some of them do.

When children arrive in a family group, the parents are regularly interviewed about the grounds for their asylum application, while often the minors are not given the opportunity to spell out their reasons.

When children arrive unaccompanied, the migration authorities tend to focus only on how to bring them back to their parents, ignoring that they have in many cases escaped from their country with the fullest support of their family. Continue reading

What’s it like to be a child refugee?

Three teenagers who came to Britain as child refugees discuss their experiences on
Woman’s Hour, 17/08/2010. You can listen to the interviews here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009g9d7

These are the young people — Gervelie, Hamzat and Mohammed — whose stories feature in the terrific Frances Lincoln series : REFUGEE DIARIES
http://www.franceslincoln.com/index.php?page=results&series=192&c=1

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 658 GREATER MANCHESTER IMMIGRATION AID UNIT

That this House is concerned at the decision by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to cut the legal aid contract of the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) from October; notes that this cut amounts toa 70 per cent. reduction in legal aid that the GMIAU canprovide; further notes that the GMIAU is a fully independent voluntary organisation; recognises the invaluable service the GMIAU has provided, and continues to provide, to individuals involved in numerous asylum and immigration cases; further notes that thisservice has been provided for free to those qualifying under the Legal Help scheme; expresses concern that the GMIAU may not be able to continue assisting in as many cases as it currently does; is furtherconcerned about the future welfare of those who could face possible deportation without the legal assistance provided by the GMIAU; and calls on the Secretary of State for Justice to intervene and urgently review the decision by the LSC.

27.07.2010

Leech, John

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=41615&SESSION=905

Fears growing: Statement from The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees

The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees was delighted by the pledge made by the new Government to end the barbaric practice of detaining children for immigration purposes and Nick Clegg’s promise that Yarl’s Wood family unit will close. But there is increasing concern about the absence so far of a clear formal announcement of a change in policy from Immigration Minister, Damian Green.

Fears are growing, too, that rushed-through alternative ways of dealing with families could also mean huge distress to children facing deportation. It appears from leaked documents that a recently-started Liverpool pilot is giving families only two weeks notice to pack their bags voluntarily or face the prospect of forced deportation after the deadline expires. Continue reading

Children in immigration centres face deportation within weeks

Pilot scheme gives families with children facing removal a two-week ultimatum to leave the country voluntarily

Last week, Nick Clegg described the detention of children in centres such as Yarl’s Wood as a ‘moral outrage’. Immigration officials charged with carrying out the government’s pledge to end the detention of children in immigration centres have launched a scheme designed to deport them and their families from the country within weeks.

The move dashes expectations of a more liberal alternative to child detention. Families with children facing removal are to be given a two-week ultimatum to leave the country voluntarily, according to a document seen by the Guardian. Continue reading

‘It is not terribly easy for a family unit to abscond’

Dave Wood, UK Border Agency’s director of criminality and detention, gave oral evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee on 16 September, 2009. His opening remarks follow here and on-line at www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/970/09091604.htm

MR DAVE WOOD

16 SEPTEMBER 2009

Q24 Chairman: Mr Wood, may I thank you very much come for coming to give evidence today. It was at very short notice and I appreciate the fact that you have flown back from your holiday just to be present at this session and the Committee is extremely grateful for this. We are meeting in September and it is good that you have been able to come.

Mr Wood: This is a very important subject to us.

Q25  Chairman: It is and we are very grateful to you for coming here. Why are children detained under the immigration system, because they have not done anything wrong, have they? Continue reading

In celebration of ordinary lives – Shining a light on refugee children’s experience

Say the word ‘refugee’ to yourself. Without thinking, what images and notions enter your mind?

Now, think about it.

The last Saturday of Refugee Week 2010 was an important day in the lives of four refugee children and their families – a celebration of childhood regained.

We have told their stories in a series of books for children, the Refugee Diaries. At the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, these children’s lives were celebrated. This was a marker for them and all those who have supported and cheered them on – a day to celebrate the longed-for ordinariness of their lives. Continue reading

Face the Facts – BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 Face the Facts is looking at legal representation for people in the asylum system – you can hear the programme next Thursday 5th August at 12.30 and at 9pm on Sunday 8th August, and you’ll be able to listen again online via this link. It’s been researched in the wake of Refugee Migrant Justice going into administration and closing.

bbc.co.uk/radio4/facethefacts

Sheila