To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children were detained at Tinsley House immigration removal centre for more than 72 hours during 2009. [HL1125]

parliament_logoHouse of Lords / 26 Jan 2010 : Column WA316
Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children were detained at Tinsley House immigration removal centre for more than 72 hours during 2009. [HL1125]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): During 2009, 111 children were detained at Tinsley for more than 72 hours. This figure is taken from local data normally used for management information only.

Following a recent internal review, however, we have taken the decision to limit the length of stay for children to just 24 hours, after which they will be transferred to Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.

This is an interim measure pending a programme of changes we will be making at the centre to improve facilities for children.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldhansrd/text/100126w0003.htm#10012667000349

26 January 2010

Don’t push asylum seekers deeper into poverty – email your MP now. It takes 2 minutes

38-degreesTell your MP to make a stand against asylum seekers being forced deeper into poverty. Email them now and ask them to tell the Home Secretary it’s time for a rethink.

If we all contact our MPs now and get them to contact the Home Secretary Alan Johnson, he will get a powerful message at just the right time.

http://38degrees.org.uk/still-human-still-here

About 38 Degrees

38 Degrees is the angle at which an avalanche happens. In the UK, 38 Degrees will enable people to act together, to create an avalanche for change.

http://38degrees.org.uk/

Asylum-seeking children are going missing from care

A cannabis factory run by a Vietnamese gang discovered in South London

Trafficked children have been found working in illegal cannabis factorie

bbcAt least four children a week who are seeking asylum go missing from the care of local authorities, a BBC investigation has discovered.

A total of 330 children aged between nine and 17 vanished between April 2008 and August 2009.

Social workers believe many children were targeted for prostitution by traffickers exploiting asylum rules.

Home Office minister Meg Hillier told the BBC: “The figures are still too high, worryingly high.”

The exclusive figures were gathered using Freedom of Information requests to local authorities by The Report and voluntary group the Care Leavers’ Association. Continue reading “Asylum-seeking children are going missing from care”

“The child’s best interests are not a primary consideration in immigration decisions. Immigration control takes priority over human rights obligations to children seeking asylum and their families”

outcryReport from Child Abuse & Neglect 33 (2009) 573–585

a b s t r a c t

Objective: The present study aimed to assess the mental and physical health of children held within a British immigration detention center.
Method: A total of 24 detained children (aged 3 months to 17 years) were assessed with their parents or carer after being referred by a registered legal charity. Thirteen were seen by a pediatrician alone, 4 by a psychologist alone, and 7 by both professions using semi-structured clinical interviews. The psychologist also used standardized self-report questionnaires to measure psychopathology.
Results: During the psychological assessment of 11 children, 8 met criteria for psychiatric “caseness” on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. All 11 reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sleep problems, somatic complaints, poor appetite, emotional symptoms, and behavioral difficulties were common. Symptoms of global distress were also reported by all 9 parents. According to pediatric assessment 8 out of 20 children had lost weight. Six had missed health appointments and 2 were taken to hospital. Nutritional, developmental, educational, and child protection concerns were raised.
Conclusions: Detained children were found to be experiencing mental and physical health difficulties of recent onset, which appeared to be related to the detention experience. These findings support previous Australian studies demonstrating that detention is not in the best interest of the child. It suggests that current UK policies regarding the detention of children for purposes of immigration control should be re-examined. Further research in the area is required. Continue reading ““The child’s best interests are not a primary consideration in immigration decisions. Immigration control takes priority over human rights obligations to children seeking asylum and their families””

The Detention of Children in the Immigration System: First Report of Session 2009–10

parliament_logoHouse of Commons Home Affairs Committee: The Detention of Children in the Immigration System
First Report of Session 2009–10, Report, together with formal minutes Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 24 November 2009:

Extract:

4. We were told that “nearly 1000 children a year remain in detention”,  and we have learned that at any one time up to 35 children are detained. However, Mr Wood explained that because of legal reviews and appeals of cases there is often a degree of “re-detention”— “there are duplicates in the sense of families detained twice”. We have been unable to discover how many individual families with children have been detained in the last year.
That such figures are not readily available is troubling. In future, Government statistics should be more informative and state how many separate individuals have been detained, not merely how many people have passed through detention. Continue reading “The Detention of Children in the Immigration System: First Report of Session 2009–10”

Minute from Meeting for Sufferings 5 December 2009

quaker_home_themeMeeting for Sufferings – December 2009
At a Meeting for Sufferings held in London 5 December

2009S/09/12/7: Minutes & Correspondence
i Area Meeting Minutes
a) Bristol AM: Colnbrook Detention Centre
Further to our minute S/09/04/8c), we return to minute 27/09 of Bristol Area Meeting held 19 February 2009 concerning Colnbrook Detention Centre (paper S/09/04/mc i b).

b) Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
Sheila Mosley of Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network, has introduced the minutes from the QARN meeting held 17 October 2009 (paper S/09/12/ mc i b), and has summarised QARN’s views on the priorities for action especially on the detention of children and indefinite detention.

We would like to support greater awareness-raising among Friends about the issues facing asylum-seekers. QARN membership is open to all and they are willing to provide speakers for meetings. We are encouraged to take action individually and as meetings to give practical help to asylum-seekers and to support campaigns such as Outcry on their behalf. We would also like to make some kind of public statement on detention and ask the Recording Clerk to report on this to us early in 2010.

http://www.quaker.org.uk/meeting-sufferings-december-2009

Events coming up

medical-justiceMotherland, with Juliet Stevenso:

Following sell-out performances at the Young Vic in London, the true acount of women and children detained in Yarl’s Wood comes to Bedford.
One evening only – 7.30pm Thursday January 14th 2010
The Civic Theater, 2 Horne Lane, Bedford, MK40 1RA. Map .
(10 minutes walk from Bedford station, 37 minutes by train from London St Pancras) Continue reading “Events coming up”

Refugee Council Campaigns: End of year round-up

refugee-councilThis year has seen some important progress in our work to improve refugees’ lives and challenge injustice. You can read more about this year in our recent Impact Report.

But too many refugees and asylum seekers continue to face a daily struggle for survival and justice in the UK, with recent changes in asylum support and to the asylum process.

We’re preparing for 2010 and look forward to working with you to campaign for positive change. Continue reading “Refugee Council Campaigns: End of year round-up”

Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre

yarls-wood-001Six miles north of Bedford on a desolate hill-top, Yarl’s Wood IRC is purpose built, by the same architects as Harmondsworth and to a similar pattern. It was originally designed for 900 beds as “the biggest immigration detention centre in Europe” but before it could be completed was destroyed, only three months after opening, in a night of riot and fire lead, probably, by exasperated people who had served prison terms for criminal activities, and then, instead of being released or promptly deported, found themselves indefinitely further detained awaiting deportation. Continue reading “Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre”

Report on an unannounced short followup inspection of Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre 13–15 July 2009 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

hm-inspector-of-prisonstinsley-houseTinsley House immigration removal centre at Gatwick airport, run by G4S, holds men, women and children, most of whom are awaiting removal. When we last visited, we expressed serious concerns at the plight of the small number of children and women held in this largely male establishment. On our return for this unannounced follow-up inspection, conditions had generally deteriorated and the arrangements for children and single women were now wholly unacceptable.
Since our last visit, Tinsley House had effectively become a satellite of its newly opened neighbour, Brook House. This much larger and more secure removal centre, also run by G4S, provided a single management team for both sites. Managers at Brook House had faced a range of teething problems, which appeared to have been the focus of most of their attention. The consequence, pointed out to us by staff and detainees at Tinsley House, was that services and provision there had suffered, and a more restrictive approach had been introduced. Our previous suggestion that the opening of Brook House might allow Tinsley House to be  refurbished to hold only families and single women had been ignored and, instead, already inadequate provision for these most vulnerable detainees had declined further. Continue reading “Report on an unannounced short followup inspection of Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre 13–15 July 2009 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons”