Detention of Children Motion, 19/10/09 Motion lodged before the Scottish Parliament on 19 October 2009 by Christina McKelvie (SNP)

scottish-parliamentMotion lodged before the Scottish Parliament on 19 October 2009 by Christina McKelvie (SNP) on problems suffered by asylum seeking children being held in detention centres.

The full text of the motion reads:

That the Parliament is disturbed to note the findings of a team of paediatricians and psychologists published in Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, which found that 73% of the children held in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre whom they examined had developed clinically significant emotional, mental and physical health problems since being detained, including weight loss, sleep problems, bedwetting and speech regression; believes that these findings vindicate the Scottish Government’s insistence on pursuing alternatives to detention for asylum-seeker families with children; hopes that the community-based pilot launched jointly by the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the UK Border Agency in May 2009 means that no more asylum-seeking children will be detained in Scotland; further notes, however, that, according to Home Office figures, 470 children have been detained this year in England and Wales, and calls on the UK Government to follow the Scottish Government’s example in introducing community-based alternatives to detention throughout the UK and end the practice of detaining children as soon as possible.

All current motions before the Scottish Parliament can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.

Many children whose parents are awaiting deportation from the UK are being held in immigration detention centres for too long, MPs have said.

parliament_logoThe home affairs select committee said it was “not acceptable” that some were being detained for up to two months.

Chairman Keith Vaz said the children had “done nothing wrong” and should only ever be held as “a last resort”.

The government said treating children with “care and compassion” was a priority for the UK Border Agency.

The committee’s report says that nearly 1,000 children a year are detained in the UK while they and their families await removal from the country.

On average, they spend more than a fortnight in detention, although periods of up to 61 days are not uncommon, it says. Continue reading “Many children whose parents are awaiting deportation from the UK are being held in immigration detention centres for too long, MPs have said.”

UK detained 1,300 child migrants

bbcMore than 1,300 children were held at UK immigration removal centres during a 15-month period, the government says.

The figures were revealed in a letter from Immigration Minister Phil Woolas to Pete Wishart MP, the Scottish National Party home affairs spokesman.

The letter also revealed that 889 children from 488 families had been detained for more than 28 days between April 2004 and September 2009.

Mr Wishart said detaining children in adult centres was “simply wrong”.

The letter also said the figures were not subject to the “detailed checks” that usually apply to official statistics, and added that individual children may have been counted more than once, as they could have been transferred from one centre to another. Continue reading “UK detained 1,300 child migrants”

Alternatives to detention for children and families

parliament_logoA discussion paper by John Bercaw MP, Lord Dubs and Evan Harris MP

for the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Children and Refugees

Supported by the No Place for a Child Coalition

July 2006

A discussion paper by John Bercaw MP, lord Dubs and Evan Harris MP

for the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Children and Refugees

Supported by the No Place for a Child Coalition

July 2006

Preface
Each year, the UK detains around 2,000 children with their families for the purposes of immigration control. Many of these families are here to seek asylum, some have overstayed their visas and others are victims of trafficking. The decision to detain these children is an administrative one and does not require any judicial sanction their detention is subject to neither independent scrutiny nor time limit. Many of these families have complex immigration or asylum cases, and have experienced trauma and distress. Their children’s health, education and emotional needs are rarely met in detention centres.

This policy makes a mockery of child rights legislation. The detention of these children runs contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) – though the Government’s existing reservation to the UNCRC in relation to immigration means that children are excluded from its protection. Furthermore, the Government’s stated aim in its flagship children’s policy, Every Child Matters, is for “every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; achieve economic well-being… Contrary to government assurances that this also applies to asylum-seeking children, it is clear that in some cases not every child matters. Continue reading “Alternatives to detention for children and families”