QARN Leaflets: Download them here

8 February 2024: Please note that in our leaflet: ‘QARN – What do Quakers hope for, after the 2024 General Election‘, we mention a model letter for MPs. We have instead produced a crib sheet to highlight the concerns raised in the leaflet, in the hope that people can use this to write to/ speak with prospective MPs or wherever it is useful.

QARN What do Quakers hope for, after the 2024 General Election

This leaflet was updated March 2024:

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Children left adrift on small boats

4 March 2024: Guardian: Fears UK coastguards left children adrift on small boats before Channel tragedy

Children heard crying on 999 calls from boats in days before mass drowning, records suggest, yet logs contain no record of rescue attempts

Children – including babies – are feared to have been left adrift in small boats in the Channel by overwhelmed UK rescue agencies days before a mass drowning in 2021, prompting the former children’s commissioner to call for an investigation.

In at least nine incidents in coastguard logs, obtained by the Guardian and Liberty Investigates, no attempt to establish the safety of small boats containing children is recorded after calls for help.

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Child asylum seekers in UK made to play game about who gets foster care places

1 March 2024: Guardian: Child asylum seekers in UK made to play game about who gets foster care places

Home Office inquiry opens after ‘insensitive, upsetting’ treatment of children in hotel, who had to guess who would be next to leave

The Home Office has launched an inquiry after staff made unaccompanied asylum-seeking children play a game in which they had to guess who would be the next one to be placed in foster care, a watchdog’s report has disclosed.

The report, one of 13 written by the borders inspectorate and released on Thursday, also found that agency workers employed to look after children as young as nine had received “insufficient” background checks and training.

The findings from David Neal were set out in stark terms finally published by the Home Office on Thursday after months of delays.

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Concerns about the use of barges, army barracks, hotels, offshoring etc etc. continued 2023

This post follows on from the initial post which became very long, but can be found here: https://qarn.org.uk/concerns-about-the-use-of-army-barracks-etc/. Here we update the post with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation and hotels, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites. These are the consequences of the hostile system that leaves people languishing without a decision for long periods of time.

See also posts regarding ‘Detention Centres‘ such as such as Hassockfield/Derwentside and also the post regarding plans to export people seeking asylum to Rwanda 

Re: children: https://qarn.org.uk/article-39-seeks-legal-protection-for-highly-vulnerable-children-housed-in-home-office-hotels/


9 February 2024: BBC: Bibby Stockholm: Government to investigate migrants’ baptisms

The home secretary is investigating how the asylum system deals with migrants who have converted to Christianity.

It follows claims from a Weymouth church that Muslim men living on board the Bibby Stockholm barge, which is moored off Portland in Dorset, were preparing for Christian baptism.

Sussex MP Tim Loughton raised the issue in Parliament on Wednesday.

Weymouth Baptist Church insisted the requests for baptism were genuine.

People can apply for UK asylum based on religion if you have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country because of your religious beliefs.

Continue reading “Concerns about the use of barges, army barracks, hotels, offshoring etc etc. continued 2023”

Age assessments of children

23 January 2024: Written jointly by the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network ‘Forced Adulthood -The Home Office’s incorrect determination of age and how this leaves child refugees at risk.

It was written jointly by the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network. It found that at least 1,300 refugee children were placed in unsupervised adult accommodation and detention in an 18-month period (January 2022 to June 2023), after being wrongly age-assessed on arrival in the UK. We think that real numbers are likely to be much higher as data was not received from all local authorities. 

This data paints a bleak picture of separated children‘s experiences on arrival in the UK. Behind each case there is a child who has been failed by the system, experienced abuse, exploitation, distress, or harm. All of these traumas are entirely preventable, children are subjected to these harms as a direct result of being wrongly placed in adult accommodation due to the Home Office age assessment policy at the point of entry.

This is a safeguarding crisis on an unprecedented scale which we like to bring to your attention in the hope it will be possible for us to work together to address system failures and ensure that all children are protected from the moment they arrive in the UK.

Additional findings reveal that:

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X-rays for children

Updated 19 January 2024: Thank you Freemovement: Scientific Age Testing of Children Becomes Law

The Immigration (Age Assessments) Regulations 2024 providing for the use of scientific age testing of children have come into force on 10 January 2024. A reminder of the response from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to these proposals:

Evidence shows that using x-rays to determine age can be widely inaccurate and the practice is ultimately unethical. It is appalling to see that the Government is persisting with these plans, which hinge life-changing decisions for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society on unspecific scientific outcomes and includes exposing them to radiation.

We have covered these regulations extensively, from when the drafts were first published, to when the relevant section of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 was brought into force, when the House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee raised concerns and when the regulations were voted on by Parliament.

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Home Office starts X-raying migrants’ bones and teeth to determine their age

10 January 2024: iNews: Home Office starts X-raying migrants’ bones and teeth to determine their age

Those who refuse to have X-rays to determine their age may be penalised, according to the Home Office

The Home Office will begin using teeth and bone X-rays to determine the age of asylum seekers arriving in the UK.

New legislation, that came into force on Wednesday, means the Home Office will now be able to use “scientific methods” to assess age, including radiographs of molars, hands and wrists, and MRI scans of the thigh bone and collarbone.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has described the X-rays as “pseudoscience” which fail “basic tests on ethics and accuracy”.

Read more: https://inews.co.uk/news/home-office-x-raying-migrants-age-2846156

Children reaching UK in small boats sent to jail for adult sex offenders

27 August 2023: Thanks to Maddie Harris and Humans for Rights Network – StatusNow signatories – for exposing this terrible situation:

Guardian: Children reaching UK in small boats sent to jail for adult sex offenders

Human rights group finds growing number of cases of minors held among prisoners

Vulnerable children who arrive in Britain by small boat are being placed in an adult prison that holds significant numbers of sex offenders.

A growing number of cases have been identified where unaccompanied children, many of whom appear to be trafficked, have been sent to HMP Elmley, Kent, and placed among foreign adult prisoners.

According to the most recent inspection of Elmley, the block where foreign nationals are held also houses sex offenders.

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Minister Robert Jenrick ordered painting over of child asylum unit murals

7 July 2023: **Disgraceful!** BBC: Minister Robert Jenrick ordered painting over of child asylum unit murals

Murals of Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters designed to welcome child asylum seekers to a reception centre in Dover have been painted over, by order of the immigration minister.

Robert Jenrick instructed that they be removed, reportedly because he believed they sent too welcoming a message.

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Article 39 seeks legal protection for highly vulnerable children housed in Home Office hotels 


Letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights that QARN has signed

Rt Hon Joanna Cherry KC MP
Chair
Joint Committee on Human Rights
Houses of Parliament
London
SW1A 0AA
By email: jchr@parliament.uk and joanna.cherry.mp@parliament.uk
CC: All Members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights
3 March 2023


Dear Ms Cherry KC
URGENT Inquiry needed in relation to the use of hotel accommodation for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

We write in relation to a matter of pressing national concern — namely, the Home Office accommodating thousands of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in hotel and B&B type accommodation for a period of 19 months, during which time hundreds of children have gone missing.

Our view is that there is no legal basis for the Home Office to accommodate children in this way. The effect of this action has been to systematically exclude from the protection of the Children Act 1989 and associated secondary legislation and guidance a cohort of highly vulnerable children, on the basis of where they were born and how they entered a local authority area. They are now treated as being outside the usual established standards for providing suitable accommodation, care, and support to children in need.

We consider that these Home Office arrangements breach the human rights of children in multiple ways, both under domestic and international law. This includes their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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