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/


23 October 2023: Guardian: Conditions at Manston centre for asylum seekers ‘unacceptable’

Watchdog’s report also has ‘serious concerns’ about conditions at Western Jet Foil and Kent Intake Unit

Conditions at a processing centre for asylum seekers who arrive on the Kent coast in small boats have been called unacceptable in a report from a watchdog that monitors the centre.

Representatives from the Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) made a total of 85 visits in 2022 to three Home Office processing centres for small boat arrivals – Manston, Western Jet Foil and Kent Intake Unit – for its 2022 annual report into short-term holding facilities on the Kent coast. All three centres hit the headlines last year due to a variety of scandals and serious incidents.

The IMB report found that the facilities struggled to cope with an increasing number of arrivals and identified “serious concerns about the conditions in which people were being held, particularly at Manston”.

The report adds: “At Manston detained individuals were accommodated in marquees which we would describe as at best basic, at worst unsanitary and unacceptable.”

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

X-rays for children

22 September 2023: Guardian: Fear of X-ray age tests in UK ‘may force child asylum seekers to flee’

Human rights groups criticise introduction of X-rays or bone scans to determine ages of asylum seekers

The Home Office insists many adult asylum seekers are pretending to be children but recent freedom of information data from 70 local authorities obtained by charities suggests that two-thirds of children – 867 out of 1,386 – deemed to be adults by the Home Office were later confirmed to be children.

Children wrongly classified as adults could be placed alone in unsupervised accommodation alongside adults they do not know, or wrongly placed in adult immigration detention centres. Some children as young as 14 have been forced to share rooms with unrelated adults.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/sep/22/fear-of-x-ray-age-tests-may-force-uk-child-asylum-seekers-to-flee

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.

Continue reading “Children reaching UK in small boats sent to jail for adult sex offenders”

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.

Continue reading “Minister Robert Jenrick ordered painting over of child asylum unit murals”

Age assessments of children

12 June 2023: Guardian: Data undermines Jenrick’s claim about asylum seekers saying they are children

Minister said up to a fifth of adult males seeking asylum pretended to be children, but Home Office figures say it is 1%

A claim made in parliament by the immigration minister that up to a fifth of adult male asylum seekers pretend to be children when they arrive in the UK has been undermined by the Home Office’s own data, which shows the actual figure is just 1%.

The factchecking organisation Full Fact has obtained new freedom of information data that shows that between 1 January and 7 November 2022 only about 1% of all males arriving on small boats at Western Jet Foil claimed to be under 18 but were later found to be over 18.

Full Fact has written to Robert Jenrick asking him to correct the parliamentary record or to provide data which supports his claim.

Continue reading “Age assessments of children”

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.

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

New Plan for Immigration – Nationality & Borders legislation 2022 enacted

When the will is there, it can be done – that is our point:  there is hope yet … We will collate reports and legal challenges to the Nationality and Borders legislation here.

See also: https://qarn.org.uk/government-plans-for-borders-and-immigration-2023/

3 February 2023: Guardian: Alf Dubs: Braverman calling refugees ‘invaders’ was low point of my career

Labour peer who fled to UK to escape Nazis says home secretary’s words ‘deeply and personally upsetting.

Alf Dubs, the veteran Labour peer who arrived in the UK as a child fleeing the Nazis, has described Suella Braveman’s likening of refugees to invaders as “deeply and personally upsetting”, and a low point of his half century in politics.

Dubs, who fled what was then Czechoslovakia unaccompanied in 1939 and came to the UK aged six as part of the Kindertransport system, condemned the home secretary for using language that painted those also fleeing persecution as “hostile people”.

Dubs’ comments, made in a new podcast series presented by the Lord Speaker, John McFall, follow criticism of Braverman by another survivor of the Holocaust last month.

In comments made in October, shortly after she was reappointed by Rishi Sunak, Braverman said in the Commons that refugees and migrants crossing the Channel in small boats were “the invasion on our southern coast”.

Continue reading “New Plan for Immigration – Nationality & Borders legislation 2022 enacted”

Disappearing children

29 January 2023: The Observer view on Britain’s shameful failings on child refugees

Observer editorial

Abused, kidnapped and lost – the government should hang its head in shame over its lack of care towards vulnerable minors

Unaccompanied children fleeing war, torture and chaos are surely one of the most vulnerable demographics in the world. Yet an Observer investigation has exposed how once these children reach the UK they can be treated with an appalling lack of care, to the extent that large numbers are being kidnapped in plain sight by criminal gangs. Today, we publish allegations by a whistleblower that the staff in one hotel accommodating some of these already traumatised children have subjected them to repeated emotional abuse.

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove, has met some of the children being housed in a hotel in his constituency. He has described their vulnerability: one 15-year-old from Iran who had lost both of his parents travelled to the UK with a friend but was separated from him because he tested positive for Covid and was so anxious “his face was pinched and his legs were buckling”. The majority of unaccompanied children arriving in Britain come from countries with terrible records of conflict and human rights abuses: Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Many will be in immediate danger from the criminal gangs to whom they owe money for smuggling them into the country.

Continue reading “Disappearing children”

ICIBI – An inspection of the use of hotels for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) March – May 2022

19 October 2022: ICIBI – An inspection of the use of hotels for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) March – May 2022

This inspection examined the use of hotels to accommodate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, with particular reference to the Home Office’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in the United Kingdom.

An inspection of the use of hotels for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) March – May 2022

Details: This inspection was not included in the Chief Inspector’s original 2021–2022 Inspection Plan but is a response to concerns raised with the inspectorate by stakeholders, and from the inspectorate’s own intelligence-gathering activities.

Extract added by QARN: symptomatic of how this system runs

4.15 In all but one of the hotels, the kitchens were permanently closed, and food had to be provided from another location. All the young people had every meal served in take-away containers as the use of plates was, according to contractor staff, not included in the contracts. The food was of mixed quality and the way in which it was provided missed an opportunity to create a more child-centred environment.

Continue reading “ICIBI – An inspection of the use of hotels for housing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) March – May 2022”