Quakers oppose detention of migrants’ children, and so should a new government

We must not punish the children

Quakers oppose detention of migrants’ children, and so should a new government by Michael Bartlet

Quakers believe in the unique value of every individual. From this follows a sense of equality that animates Quaker thinking today. The right to asylum becomes a legal counterpart to the religious insight of the common humanity of us all.

Refugees are the human face of international injustice. They are the place – in this country – where we see the real impact of inequality: armed conflict, the inability of failed states to provide a secure home for their citizens, and abusive governments. The impact of climate change adds a further dimension in increasing pressure on land and resources. That is why migration policy presents such a difficult problem. It is easier to close our eyes and ears to the victims of injustice abroad than acknowledge its wounded presence at our door. Continue reading “Quakers oppose detention of migrants’ children, and so should a new government”

Arise and Shine. Self-advocacy. Asylum Seekers.

The Cast. Lydia Besong’s play “How I became an Asylum Seeker”. April 2, 2010 (without photos)

As this blog reaches it’s first anniversary the stories that have been whispering in my ear over the past twelve months are drawn together:

The Yarl’s Wood hunger strike. The forthcoming election. War and refugee movements. The unsavoury ways in which political parties capitalise on people’s fears about immigration. A lack of funding for investigative journalism, censorship – and recurring, stereotypical images of asylum seekers in the press.

Attending the “Arise and Shine” woman asylum seekers self-advocacy event in Manchester last week addressed all of these narratives.

The play and workshops were billed as a ‘Professional Development Opportunity’. As a trained teacher in Adult Education as well as a journalist I had a critical eye on how the event was organised. I was impressed from the start. Continue reading “Arise and Shine. Self-advocacy. Asylum Seekers.”

Quakers’ letter to Jack Straw – use with prospective Parliamentary candidates

What can you do?

The letter that has been sent from Quakers to Jack Straw on 1 April 2010 can be used to address issues with prospective Parliamentary candidates: https://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/2010/04/01/letter-to-jack-straw-secretary-of-state-for-justice-1-april-2010

‘We agree to the letter being sent and made public for a wide dissemination of a Quaker voice on this matter. We welcome the strategy suggested in the paper, particularly seeking alternatives to detaining children, who need to be protected and kept with their families. We ask Friends to use this letter in canvassing Parliamentary candidates at this time.’  MfS 28.3.2010

See also:



Apology for abuse of children – leaflet

Apology for abuse of children THEN,

while NOW…

THEN In February Gordon Brown apologised for the UK’s past role in sending more than 130,000 children to former colonies where many suffered abuse.

He said: “To all those former child migrants and their families… we are truly sorry. They were let down.”

NOW In February Children’s Commissioner Sir Al Aynesley Green called for families with children not to be detained: Continue reading “Apology for abuse of children – leaflet”

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”