Does Barnardo’s legitimise child detention?

By Frances Webber
17 March 2011, 10:00pm
The children’s charity’s decision to work with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in its planned short-term family detention facility has caused alarm among campaigners.
ON 9 March, Barnardo’s announced that it had agreed with the UKBA to provide staff at the proposed new immigration holding centre for up to nine families at Pease Pottage, Crawley Forest. UKBA and its consultants putting forward the planning application describe the centre as ‘pre-departure accommodation’, and never use the word ‘detention’, and according to UKBA’s website, families ‘will have free movement around the site, security will be low-key, and the site will not have an institutional feel’. But NoBorders‘ investigations have shown conclusively that the centre, will be a detention centre – complete with 2.5-metre perimeter fences, locked areas, internal fences dividing the site into accessible and inaccessible areas, a ‘buffer zone’ inside the perimeter fence, and powers to use force and ‘control and restraint’ techniques on both adults and children. The plans even suggest capacity to segregate difficult families for ‘special attention’ in two special units. All areas will be supervised at all times and ‘routine observation of all parts of the grounds will be undertaken’ (although the application does not refer to CCTV, it is likely that this is what it means). The fact that children, and families, may be allowed to leave the centre on supervised shopping or cinema trips, subject to individual risk assessments, does not mask but in fact highlights the institutional nature of the place. Continue reading

Detained & Denied: The clinical care of immigration detainees living with HIV

I was scared that I was going to die in Yarl’s Wood when they refused to give my medication. It was as if they were turning off my life support machine. The way they treated me was inhuman. I felt as if I was a criminal. I was traumatised for a long time after my release.

I welcome this new report by Medical Justice and hope that it will be widely read and that UKBA will act on the recommendations. The research highlights the way people like me are not treated like human beings in detention.

As well as being HIV positive I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic and need to eat regularly. I was released from detention after four days. I felt very weak because I had had very little food and no medication during my detention. Interrupting my HIV medication had consequences for my health. 

Continue reading

Department of Health response to the consultation on foreign nationals access to the NHS

Dear all

The Department of Health has now responded to the consultation on access of foreign nationals to the NHS.  On the positive side the Government proposes to make some changes:

* Exempt refused asylum seekers on S95 or S4 and unaccompanied children from charges for secondary healthcare
* Ensure those that have started free treatment will continue it even if their status changes and they become eligible for charging Continue reading

Pre-departure agreement between agreement between UKBA and Children’s charity Barnado

Dear Friends,

Please find below links to a recent piece by Frances Webber on the agreement between the UKBA and Children’s charity Barnado’s to work together in the proposed new ‘pre-departure accommodation’.

The second link is a related article by Sir Al Aynsley-Green on the wider Children’s Sector.

Please have a read and forward to any interested colleagues. Continue reading

London launch of the Keep Your Promise campaign on 26th March

End Child Detention Now, the Shpresa Programme and Student Action for Refugees invite you to the London launch of the Keep Your Promise… campaign
On Saturday 26th March at 5.00pm-6.30pm
Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
Nearest Tube – Bethnal Green
On 12 May 2010, Nick Clegg on behalf of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition government announced that the  immigration detention of children in the United Kingdom was to be brought to an end. On 16 December Mr Clegg described the detention of children as ‘a moral outrage’ and announced the closure of the family wing of the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire. He said no children would be detained over Christmas. BUT… Not only was a child detained on Christmas Day, as many as 100 children were detained by the UKBA in the first six months of the coalition government. The new plans for a more humane approach to dealing with families whose asylum claims have failed includes converting a special needs school into ‘pre-departure accommodation’ surrounded by a 2.8 metre security fence – a new detention centre in all but name. This is why End Child Detention Now has teamed up with the Shpresa Programme which supports Albanian speaking families in London and Student Action for Refugees, which represents 5,000 student volunteers across the country to initiate the Keep Your Promise campaign to hold Clegg and Cameron to their pledge to end child detention now and forever.

UK Immigration Courts: Observations from the Public Gallery

The Old Bailey, crown courts, magistrates courts — we’ve all heard of them, have probably read court reports, may even have attended them in person. But immigration courts? This is where decisions made by the government (the UK Border Agency) in immigration matters — including the administrative detention of some 25,000 people every year without time limit, without criminal charge or proper explanation — can be challenged.

A bail application to an immigration court is generally the most accessible way for detainees to seek their release from detention centres such as Campsfield, Yarl’s Wood, Harmondsworth, Colnbrook andBrook House, places where detainees — including torture survivors — routinely suffer from mental illness (some detainees’ stories here). Continue reading

Britain’s host community: who’s in and who’s out?

Esme Madill, 5 March 2011

Last night Esmé Madill, a consultant in the not for profit sector, spoke at a celebration at the Shire Foundation, which runs ‘Rajo’ (‘hope’ in Somali), a project for Somali children in North London.

I had a preview of tonight’s performance one rainy Sunday in January. It was the end of a long week. I had planned to call in briefly to chat with the young people and then head off for a quiet coffee. I walked in — there was poetry, singing, drumming. Continue reading

ECHR and Bogus Asylum invaders – BNP

European Court of Human Rights Opens Door for Thousands More Bogus Asylum Invaders

Sun, 23/01/2011

The European Court of Human Rights has opened the door for thousands of bogus “asylum seekers” to invade Britain and other European nations after abolishing the right of European Union member states to deport illegals back to Greece.

This week’s court ruling means that any asylum seeker can be guaranteed to remain in Britain (or any other EU nation) just by claiming to have entered Europe through Greece.

The ruling was the first to be heard by the court under the European Union mechanism known as Dublin II, which allows EU member states to deport bogus asylum seekers back to the nation through which they first entered the continent.

The case arose after Belgian deported an Afghan asylum seeker to Greece under the Dublin II rules, which say that an asylum seeker must have their application heard in the EU member state they entered first. Continue reading

Applicability of the ECHR in immigration cases

The protected Convention rights are universal and intended to apply to everyone within the United Kingdom ’s jurisdiction, not just British nationals. The preamble of the ECHR describes the rights as having a universal quality – they apply to all persons regardless of nationality, race, sex or other “status”.

There are three broad categories of case where the ECHR has an impact in the field of immigration and asylum law:

  • Firstly, there is the class of case where the claimant asserts that her removal from the United Kingdom would infringe the human rights she has established in the United Kingdom . These types of case are referred to by the House of Lords as ‘domestic cases’. For example, if a person has established a family or private life in the United Kingdom which will be breached by removal abroad, this is a domestic case.
  • Secondly, there is a class of case where the claimant asserts that her human rights will be breached after removal from the United Kingdom , i.e. in the future. These types of case are referred to as ‘foreign cases’. For example, if a person will experience torture or inhuman or degrading treatment in her own country after removal from the UK , or her mental and/or physical health would deteriorate catastrophically because medical treatment would be unavailable in the future, this would be a foreign case.
  • Thirdly, there is the class of case where it is alleged that the behaviour of the authorities in this country presents a risk of a breach of human rights. This is most likely to arise in detention or support cases. Continue reading

European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights, otherwise known as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, is a convention that was passed by theas drawn up by the United Nations (UN) in 1948. The aim of the convention is to give people who live in European states a list of civil and political rights which the member states of the Council of Europe believed every person in Europe should expect to have.

Basic Rights and Freedoms under the Convention

The following basic rights and freedoms are set down in the Convention:

  • The right to life
  • The right to liberty and security
  • The right to fair trial
  • The right to no punishment without law
  • The right to respect private and family life
  • The right to marry
  • The right to a remedy of human rights abuses
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Prohibition of torture
  • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Prohibition of discrimination
  • Prohibition of the abuse of rights Continue reading