QARN supports the Outcry! campaign

quaker_home_themeEvery year around 2,000 children in the UK are locked up in immigration detention.

QARN is supporting OutCry!, the campaign to end detention of children and their families for immigration purposes. We have some suggestions about how Quakers can support this campaign as individuals and through their meetings – page coming soon.

OutCry!: The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) launched this campaign in November 2008 at the House of Commons, and over the next three years will be raising awareness of the fact that children in UK are detained here in the UK Borders Agency detention estate, in our name. Full report here


quaker_home_themeWe support the OutCry! campaign against detention of children.

You could:

Make a donation to OutCry!
Write to your MP about children in detention, and about indefinite detention – there are ideas about what you could concentrate on here:
Write to The Friend to open other Quaker hearts to children in detention
Would your family, or your Meeting be interested in linking to a family in detention? Contact us
Make a link to OutCry! from your Meeting’s website
Sign up to the campaign yourself

Organise an activity for Refugee Week on the theme of detention

Join QARN:

Membership of QARN is open to all Quakers with an interest. It is an email group, and everyone is welcome to our meetings that are held approximately every 3 months in Manchester, London or the Midlands (we are always open to offers of new venues).

Decisions will be made through a process of discernment. We will often circulate ideas through the email group, and significant decisions will usually be made at the meetings.

If you are interested to join the email group, please email Miranda Girdlestone at BYM with details of your name and the Meeting you attend. For historic reasons the email group title is QRAG (Quaker Refugees and Asylum Group)

Survey of Friends’ asylum and refugee work in Britain Yearly Meeting 2007

quaker_home_themeIn June 2007, the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network decided to conduct a survey of Quaker Meetings to try to build a picture of the work done by Friends in support of asylum-seekers and refugees. All PMs were sent a copy of a questionnaire and, as well as this, many meetings were sent e-mails. The letter pages of The Friend were also used to encourage responses.

A total of 116 meetings replied, of which 32 reported no activity. Of those 32 meetings, several gave as a reason that there were no asylum-seekers or refugees in their area, or that their meetings were small and elderly (e.g. “We have five members between 85-104 years”). Several expressed their support for the work being done on asylum issues. Several meetings also hoped that there could be a more coordinated Quaker response. Continue reading “Survey of Friends’ asylum and refugee work in Britain Yearly Meeting 2007”

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.

One More Card

one-cardTake action to end the detention of children this Christmas

I saw bad things happening in prison and there was too much crying.

It gave me terrible headaches and I felt sad.

Dominic Mwafulirwa Junior, detained in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in 2009

Each family sends an average of 76 Christmas cards each year. We want you to send One More Card to help stop the detention of children in the UK. Send an extra Christmas card to Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas MP, and let him know that your Christmas wish is for him to stop the practice of detaining the children of people seeking sanctuary in Britain. Continue reading “One More Card”

Immigration: Detention and Deportation


House of Lords / 4 Nov 2009 : Column 317

Tabled By Lord HyltonTo ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will establish a limit for the length of detention under immigration and asylum law, reduce the number of detainees, and prevent deportation breaching Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I start from the proposition that it is wrong to lock up parents and children who have committed no crimes in this country. To do so when they have little or no legal advice, and for periods of unknown length, is doubly bad. Those affected are mainly asylum applicants who have not succeeded in being recognised as refugees. They also include people who have overstayed their leave to remain. All of them may already have been here for years and have married here and produced children. All may have very real fears of what might happen to them if they are removed to their countries of origin, whatever the Government may say about memoranda of understanding. Continue reading “Immigration: Detention and Deportation”

Early Day Motion 1982 Detention of Children 12.10.2009

parliament_logoMullin, Chris

That this House notes with concern that around 2,000 children are detained each year in immigration detention centres, some for periods of several months; notes the opinion of Save the Children and the Children’s Commissioner that this is unjustified and damaging; notes that families with children are among the least likely to abscond; further notes that some EU and Commonwealth countries have successfully introduced solutions other than secure detention for families who have exhausted their asylum claims; and urgently calls on the Goverment to end the practice of holding children in immigration detention centres.”

94 signatures as of 17/11/09

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

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”