END CHILD DETENTION NOW: RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

End Child Detention Now, the citizens’ campaign working to end the scandal of child detention by the UK immigration authorities, continues to call for an immediate end to child detention and wants confirmation that the “ensured return” procedure does not involve the detention of children under another name.

Esmé Madill, coordinator of End Child Detention Now said

“The evidence of harm caused by detention is overwhelming and there can be no justification for continuing to lock up children. An immigration system which allows the children of asylum seekers to be detained in conditions which would never be accepted for any other children and young people makes a mockery of the principle that every child matters. Children seeking sanctuary in the UK are among the most vulnerable in our communities and yet they are afforded less protection than any other group of children and young people. If the mark of a civilised nation is how it treats the most vulnerable we can hardly claim to be civilised.” Continue reading

Outcry! comment on child detention

The OutCry! campaign is delighted that Nick Clegg has set out a timetable to end the abhorrent practice of detaining children in immigration centres. We particularly welcome the immediate closure of the family unit at Yarl’s Wood.

The government is to be commended for taking seriously the need to put children’s welfare at the centre of the asylum process. Although we await more detail, the family conferences and the independent family returns panel could be positive developments.

If children’s safeguarding is given top priority and families have enough time to consider their options, these changes should increase communication and trust within the asylum and immigration process. Continue reading

‘New compassionate approach to family returns’ – UKBA

Thursday, 16 Dec 2010

Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre will close to children with immediate effect today, following a review of the detention of children, and family returns, by the Government working with key partners.

Earlier this year the coalition government committed to end child detention for immigration purposes. Today, it unveils a new, compassionate approach to family removals, following a wide-reaching review and consultation.

The UK Border Agency will now follow a new four stage process focused on engagement with families during the decision making process, giving parents the opportunity to engage in when and how they return, when they have been found to have no legal right to stay in the UK. The new measures will ensure a family’s return home is safe and dignified. Continue reading

The immediate end of child detention is essential but it is only the first step

FIVE YEARS OF DENIAL: the UK government’s reckless pursuit of a punitive asylum policy – never mind the evidence of harm.

Download the report here: OurKingdom Dossier 2

The UK government has knowingly harmed between 1000 and 2000 children of asylum-seekers every year, sending dawn hit squads to raid family homes, search children in their beds and lock them up (sometimes for weeks and months) in places known to harm their mental and physical health. All in the name of ‗border control‘, driven by a political desire to look tough on immigration — and executed in venal disregard of a startling truth that the UK Border Agency let slip in evidence to Parliament last year: absconding is not an issue. (Source: Hansard)

The citizens‘ campaign End Child Detention Now has gathered some of the compelling research that the Home Office has variously ignored, misrepresented and buried these past five years. The research provides irrefutable evidence of damage done to children by detention and by other harmful and state-sanctioned practices.
Some of this research years ago offered viable alternatives to detention that the government chose to ignore, preferring dangerous and punitive practices that made politicians look tough — at the expense of children‘s health and sanity. Continue reading

Children in detention – meeting in London Monday 13th December 2010

COALITION BROKEN PROMISES: Notwithstanding the government’s promise to end child detention, and immigration minister Damian Green’s promise to have it ended ‘within weeks’ of July, and Green’s promise back in the summer to visit Yarl’s Wood dressed as Santa if children were still being detained this Xmas, children continue to be locked up for immigration purposes. Continue reading

Alternatives to detention – new research

Ending the detention of children:
Developing an alternative approach to family returns – Full document here: Alternatives_to_child_detention Dec 2010
Executive summary
• The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government Coalition Agreement (May 2010) included a commitment to end the detention of children for immigration purposes. A review process was established by the Home Office to identify how this commitment would be delivered.
• This paper on alternatives to detention been produced to inform the review process. It draws upon an existing body of research in the UK and internationally to develop an alternative approach which does not rely upon detention to secure family returns.
• It is important to acknowledge the wider context within which the detention of families occurs. Alternatives to detention are meaningful only if they exist within a broader system of decision-making that ensures ongoing and consistent contact is maintained, and where asylum seekers have information about their rights and are aware of their obligations. Continue reading

UKBA issues eviction notices in Glasgow

Positive Action in Housing is disappointed to have to inform supporters that, despite the Immigration minister Damien Green promising that no one would be moved out of their homes in less than 14 days, the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) has begun issuing 24 hour eviction notices to families seeking asylum in Glasgow.
34 year old single mother, Namir Rad was told to leave her Glasgow City Council accommodation to move into YMCA/YPeople accommodation as result of the controversial changes in UKBA housing contracts in Glasgow. Namir has twin sons who are about to start at the local high school in the New Year.  She has lived in her flat in Maryhill for over two years and the news that she has to move has hit her hard.  Already suffering from anxiety and stress, she is on sleeping tablets and anti-depressants. She was only told in a telephone call on Wednesday 1 December that she is expected to move today Thursday at 11am. When the Unity Centre contacted Ypeople / YMCA, they were told that Namir would have to sign a letter saying she is refusing to move.  Namir and her family do not want to move from the community where she has been settled for so long.That a vulnerable single mother of two young children should be treated in such a way is heartless and cruel. Continue reading

Immigration: Detention of Children

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made regarding the ending of the detention of children of failed asylum seekers.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): My Lords, there has been progress in the pilot studies that the Government have been conducting. We remain determined to end the detention of children for immigration purposes and intend to make a Statement on the subject before the Christmas Recess. As the House will be aware, the number of children in detention for immigration purposes has fallen dramatically-and is now very low-and takes place only for very short periods. There are no children in detention at present. Continue reading