Children in detention at Yarl’s Wood – Mark Easton April 2009

bbcWhat sort of country sends a dozen uniformed officers to haul innocent sleeping children out of their beds; gives them just a few minutes to pack what belongings they can grab; pushes them into stinking caged vans; drives them for hours while refusing them the chance to go to the lavatory so that they wet themselves and locks them up sometimes for weeks or months without the prospect of release and without adequate health services?

My country, apparently.

Gordon Brown was last night accused of ‘moral cowardice’ for failing to scrap a controversial asylum policy that will see hundreds of innocent children spend Christmas behind bars.

gordon-brownn an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg urged him to bring an immediate end to the policy of locking up the children of families who are facing possible deportation.

Mr Clegg said the policy ‘shamed Britain’ and did nothing to tackle the problem of illegal asylum seekers.

Ministers refuse to say how many children are locked up at the Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire, but it is believed to affect between one and two thousand children a year.

Campaigners say they have no access to the centre’s living accommodation to monitor conditions, which are said to be ‘prison-like’. Mr Clegg added: ‘This is a dark secret that needs to be brought into the light. Continue reading “Gordon Brown was last night accused of ‘moral cowardice’ for failing to scrap a controversial asylum policy that will see hundreds of innocent children spend Christmas behind bars.”

JUDICIAL REVIEW AND INJUNCTIONS This document replaces Chapter 60 of Enforcement Instructions.

ukbalogoExtracts here regarding children and families.  This has effect from 11 January 2010.


Section 3: Where standard notification may not required when setting removal directions

3.1 Exceptions to standard notification of removal
Below we detail the following exceptions to standard notification of removal:
•Certain medically documented cases;
•Certain cases involving children
•Certain cases where swift removal is required because of the best interests of another;
•Certain cases where swift removal is required to maintain order in removal centres;
•Where the removee consents to early removal;
•Port cases, where removal occurs within 7 days of refusal. Continue reading “JUDICIAL REVIEW AND INJUNCTIONS This document replaces Chapter 60 of Enforcement Instructions.”

Liberty Election Pledge


  • Before the next election, Liberty is calling on all MPs and parliamentary candidates to sign our asylum election pledge.

    Ask your MP to remember Britain’s history as a place of refuge for the persecuted. Show your representatives that you reject xenophobia in discussions about asylum and immigration policy.

    Asylum Election Pledge

    “There is no place for racism and xenophobia in modern British politics. Nor is democratic debate advanced by the denigration of the most vulnerable in our country, including children and asylum seekers who do not enjoy the right to participate in elections.

    I promise to remember the importance of refugee protection, even in free and wide-ranging debates about immigration policy. I will never play fast and loose with the proud tradition of a nation that must always offer succour to those in genuine fear of persecution.”

The Sanctuary Pledge

quaker_home_themeBritain has a proud history of providing sanctuary to people fleeing from persecution and tyranny.

Our nation provided sanctuary to Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in 17th century France, Jews fleeing the Nazi regime in the 1930s, Ugandan Asians forced out by Idi Amin in the 1970s, Bosnians escaping ethnic cleansing in the 1990s and Zimbabweans seeking a safe haven today. Our tradition of providing sanctuary is part of what makes Britain great.

That tradition is under threat.

In recent years the rise of extremist politics, media scare stories, and high profile failings by the Home Office have led to this issue becoming a political football.

Yet over two-thirds of the public still think it is important that the UK provides sanctuary to people fleeing persecution. We agree. We believe that sanctuary should not just be part of the UK’s history. It should be part of our future too.

The Sanctuary Pledge is our response. We need ordinary citizens – like you – to convince your political representatives to sign the Sanctuary Pledge at the 2010 General Election.

Please help us to rebuild support for sanctuary.

Attend a Sanctuary Pledge training session to learn how to negotiate effectively and commit to becoming a Sanctuary Champion

There are 14 training sessions across the UK. Places are free but you must register. Click here for details of when and where to train.

STEP 2. Build a delegation of people to meet with your Parliamentary Candidates

Build a small but strong and diverse negotiation team of community leaders.

STEP 3. Arrange for your delegation to meet your Parliamentary Candidates

We can provide you with the contact details of your local Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and a briefing pack. Contact for more information.

STEP 4. Negotiate with your Parliamentary Candidates

Meet individually with your Parliamentary Candidates and ask them to sign up to the Sanctuary Pledge.

Explain the number of people you represent and how important this issue is to you and them. Tell them they will be asked publicly whether they have signed the Pledge.

STEP 5. Take action to publicise the Sanctuary Pledge

Ask a question about the Pledge at hustings events. Plan a media event to highlight the Pledge and engage the Candidates

Encourage your local churches, mosques, synagogues, schools or other institutions to learn about sanctuary and take action to support the Pledge. You can find lots of ideas here.

STEP 6. Meet with the elected MP six months later to review progress

Ask the candidates to commit to meet you six months after the election if they get elected.

Hold them to account for the commitments they made.

More ideas about what you can do about children in immigration detention


End Child Detention Now is a citizens’ initiative which sprang from a successful campaign to release a Barnsley born toddler and his parents from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre where he had been held for more than three weeks in July 2009.
Ibrahim is one of the more than 2,000 asylum seeking children that are held in immigration detention centres in the United Kingdom each year.

With our votes, our voices and our determination we have the power to end child detention now.

Please join us by signing the No.10 petition, by contacting your local MP (if you are not sure who he or she is you can find out by visiting and urging them to sign the early day motion in the name of Chris Mullin, writing to your local newspaper, writing to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Gordon Brown, the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Alan Johnson, and the Immigration Minister, Rt Hon Phil Woolas.  More on the website:

Royal colleges call to end immigration detention of children


The Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Faculty of Public Health have today issued a briefing which describes the significant harms to the physical and mental health of children and young people in the UK who are subjected to administrative immigration detention. It argues that such detention is unacceptable and should cease without delay.

The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees are currently campaigning together under the banner OutCry! to end the immigration detention of children and families and today respond to the Royal Colleges’ briefing: Continue reading “Royal colleges call to end immigration detention of children”

Doctors’ petition : “Stop the Administrative Detention of Children and Families” – ask your doctor to sign it

mj1Doctors’ petition : “Stop the Administrative Detention of Children and Families”

This doctors’ petition is being publicly launched today. The last doctors’ petition of that Medical Justice co-ordinated attracted over 700 doctors’ signatures.  This petition is expected to get more signatures.  Please circulate and ask doctors to sign.  Signature so far include ;
* Lord Alderdice
* Iona Heath, President, Royal College of General Practitioners
* Sir Iain Chalmers
* Professor Cornelius Katona Consultant Psychiatrist
* Dr Jonathan Fluxman, GP
* Dr Nick Lessof, Consultant Paediatrician
* Dr Frank Arnold, Clinical Director, Medical Justice