No to child immigration detention

In the United Kingdom around 2000 children of asylum seekers a year are imprisoned without charge and without a time limit on their detention.

These children are in effect being excluded by the UK Borders Agency from the protection of legislation afforded to other children and in many cases are also ignoring the Agency’s own guidelines on the treatment of children in its custody.

Please sign the petition, end child immigration detention*, on the Downing Street petition website calling for an end to the abhorrent practise of imprisoning innocent children.

*Update. The petition has now closed and the Coalition Government has responded. As the reader will no doubt notice, the Government makes much of ‘committment’, ‘exploring alternatives’, ‘pilot programmes’ and so on. What the Coalition explictly avoids admitting is that child detention will continue towards an undefined point in the future.

This statement by Dave Wood to the Home Affairs Committee, 16 September 2009, admits that Illegal immigrant families are the least likely to abscond and goes further to state: “I do feel that our immigration policy would be in difficulty if we did not have that ability to detain them because it would act as a significant magnet and pull to families from abroad to come to the United Kingdom”. This is an admission that the detention of children is a weapon to warn others that may want to come to the UK.

Child detention for immigration purposes should end now and their families released. Imprisoning them is just a cynical device to appease the backward but vocal elements of our society. In failing to end this degrading practise, the Coalition are continuing the very same abusive practises pioneered by the previous Labour Government.

More information is available from Medical Justice Network detailing the treatment of prisoners at Yarl’s Wood.

The Refugee Council have recently published a report based on interviews with asylum seekers that help dispel many of the negative myths and stereotypes perpetrated by politicians and some sections of the media.

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