The Kids Britain Doesn’t Want: asylum seekers

Every year, thousands of children come from all over the world to Britain seeking refuge from persecution, terrorism and war. But many arrive to find this country is not the place of safety that they hoped. Instead they are met by a culture of disbelief and an asylum system that in some cases causes them profound psychological and physical harm.

Through the stories of a 10-year-old Iranian boy, a 16-year-old Afghan and a 22-year-old Ugandan woman, Dispatches explores the experiences of young people who have been brutalized by the British asylum system. This is the story of the kids Britain doesn’t want.

Watch the programme here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3144505
then read below Continue reading

Churches Refugee Network statement re: evictions of asylum families in Glasgow

QARN has signed this statement along with others:

The Churches Refugee Network* has noted with alarm and disapproval the arbitrary nature of the planned decision to evict without prior consultations 600  asylum families currently settled in their Glasgow community.

As a national network of churches supporting  asylum seekers we are only too familiar with the risks to mental and physical health such unprepared changes will inflict on those who already have suffered much trauma.

We criticise  this  renewed evidence of UKBA’s ignorance and lack of concern of the social effects of arbitrary changes on such people and at UKBA’s  focus of financial  over Humanitarian priorities .

We also see this planned eviction as a breach of Britain’s compliance with  the EU Directive on the  Reception of Asylum seekers.

We demand that the decision to discontinue the contract with Glasgow Council be undone, and a humane resolution/ settlement be implemented.

*The Churches Refugee Network is a national network associated to CTBI, the national ecumenical organisation of British churches.”

http://www.ctbi.org.uk/96/

Parliament statistics – children in detention

Immigrants: Children

19.11.10
Dr Huppert:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children were detained for immigration purposes (a) on each of the last 14 days for which figures are available, (b) in each of the last 12 weeks, (c) in each of the last 12 months and (d) in each of the last five years. [25397]

Damian Green:
The requested information is not available as figures on persons entering detention have been published only since the beginning of 2009. The following tables show the number of children who entered detention each month, solely under Immigration Act powers, between January 2009 and June 2010.

Claire Sambroook roundup re: children in detention

Guardian : “Lib Dems are keeping their promises on child detention” By Tom Brake MP (Lib Dem) – 16/11/10
“You reported that “Damian Green, the immigration minister, said during the Conservative conference last month that the practice would be ended by December”. Green has indeed stated that he would like to see the end of child detention this year. But this aim should be seen as a source of optimism, rather than an opportunity to criticise the Liberal Democrats. … further context may be added by including the number of children in immigration detention centres right now, which is zero. … We recognise that, above moral arguments, there is good reason to be concerned about the potential implications for the health of detained children, as has been illustrated by medical reports such as that recently produced by Medical Justice.” Read the article .
(ECDN have offered Guardian rebuttal of Brake) Continue reading

CONTINUED DETENTION OF CHILDREN SHAMES UK ON UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY

SOAS DETAINEE SUPPORT GRP LONDON RALLY SATURDAY 20th NOVEMBER

Candlelit vigil to be held in Seven Sisters, London on November 20th, 6:30pm, for children still being detained under immigration powers despite pledge from coalition government to end practice.

Students from SOAS who visit and support families and individuals in detention will be available for interview to talk about why they do this, and their campaign.  There will be ex-detainees at the vigil and the MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, has been invited – he has been involved in two Public Bill Committees dealing with immigration and asylum issues and he is an ex-SOAS student.   We hope to encourage him to speak out about the continued detention of children. Continue reading

Ending children’s detention: hope deferred

By Frances Webber 11 November 2010

The announcement that children will continue to be detained until at least March 2011 reveals the coalition’s true priorities.

It was supposed to be the face of the compassionate, caring coalition, defying cynical critics and overriding entrenched bureaucratic cruelty to do the right thing. ‘We will end the immigration detention of children’, the bold announcement said, one of the earliest of the new administration.

But within weeks it was apparent that the new government was not making radical departures from the old. First of all, the announcement was, and remained, in the future tense – ‘we will end’, not ‘we have ended’ this barbaric practice, so harmful to children that it creates depression and attempted suicide in ten-year-olds. It was not possible to put the new policy into practice, we were told, until alternative ways had been found of securing the removal of families with children, who were likely to abscond otherwise. In other words, doing the right thing was not unconditional. Continue reading

Section 4 Azure cards – ‘shocking’ – join the campaign

Dear Friend

Your campaigning helped to get rid of the shocking practice of providing asylum support through vouchers. But now these vouchers have been replaced with a payment card that restricts where, when and what people can buy.

We need your help to call for cash support for asylum seekers, to allow them to live in dignity.

What Parliament can do
The Home Office is currently carrying out an Asylum Improvement Project, examining ways to make the asylum system more efficient. The government should use this opportunity to end the inhumane system of denying people access to cash support, amending legislation to allow the Azure payment card to be replaced by cash support for all destitute asylum seekers until they return to their country of origin.
We want the government to act now to reverse this unjust policy towards some of the UK’s most vulnerable people. It is in nobody’s interest that asylum seekers are further marginalised, experience ill health and hunger, and are even forced into criminal activity as a result of extreme poverty while waiting to return to their country of origin.
We need parliamentary support to make the government act:

Please write to the Minister responsible Damian Green MP, calling for the Azure payment card to be abolished and for legislation to be amended to enable the provision of cash support for all destitute refused asylum seekers until they are given status in the UK or return to their country of origin.

Please sign the parliamentary declaration (attached) in support of the campaign to give asylum seekers permission to work. Members of parliament can sign up to the declaration by emailing mike.kaye@amnesty.org.uk
For more information on the issues in this briefing, please contact parliamentary@refugeecouncil.org.uk

Continue reading

End Child Detention Now Campaigner CLARE SAMBROOK wins PAUL FOOT AWARD

Clare Sambrook, novelist and journalist, has won the 2010 Paul Foot Award for her writing and reporting in support of the campaign to end child immigration detention. Thanking the judges for this ‘massive honour’, Clare told the audience at the Guardian/Private Eye ceremony at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London this evening

‘Reading Paul Foot’s books when I was fresh out of university gave me a strong sense of what journalism could and should be. This is a massive honour, hugely encouraging and a real boost to the End Child Detention Now campaign at a time when the government has reneged on its commitment to stop this inhumanity.’ Continue reading