Children in detention – meeting in London Monday 13th December 2010

COALITION BROKEN PROMISES: Notwithstanding the government’s promise to end child detention, and immigration minister Damian Green’s promise to have it ended ‘within weeks’ of July, and Green’s promise back in the summer to visit Yarl’s Wood dressed as Santa if children were still being detained this Xmas, children continue to be locked up for immigration purposes.

From Medical Justice :

Medical Justice campaigning meeting – focus : Children in detention + Festive 2010 Round-up
7pm Monday 13th December 2010
Garden Court Chambers , 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ

All welcome.

Despite government promises, children are still being detained. The UK Borders Agency are subjecting families to “pilots” of programmes that are said to be “alternatives to detention”, except that the possibility of detention is not actually excluded. UKBA are making these “pilots’ up as they go along.

Speakers :

Jeremy Corbyn MP – Jeremy has consistently spoken out against the immigration detention of children over many years and will advise us on effective campaigning tactics.

Dr Matthew Hodes – Consultant Child Psychiatrist, St Mary’s London and Senior Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Division of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Imperial College London. Dr Hodes has experience visiting children in detention.

Theresa Schleicher – Casework Manager at Medical Justice, Theresa co-ordinates resources and volunteer medics for each detainee referred.

“Stevie” Stevens – Caseworker at Medical Justice, Stevie deals with referrals at a rate of about 1,000 detainees a year.

Jon Burnett – Research worker at Medical Justice, Jon wrote “State Sponsored Cruelty”, the UK’s first large scale investigation into the harms caused by detaining children for immigration purposes.

Emma Ginn – The Co-ordinator of Medical Justice, Emma has sat through many presentations from the UK Borders Agency about children.

Agenda ;

7.00 – Introductions – All
7.15 – Effective campaigning tactics – Jeremy Corbyn MP
7.30 – Personal experience of detention – an ex-detainee
7.40 – “Alternatives to Detention” pilots and government statements – Theresa Schleicher / Emma Ginn
8.00 – Impact of the “pilots” on children – Dr Matthew Hodes
8.15 – Response to Medical Justice’s “State Sponsored Cruelty” report – Jon Burnett
8.30 – What you can do / campaign activities – “Stevie” Stevens
8.40 – Round-up of Medical Justice activities in 2010
8.50 – Mulled wine and mince pies

Effective campaigning tactics – Jeremy Corbyn MP will speak about the importance of speaking out and acting as a witness to the injustices immigration detainee and deportees. Having done so himself for many years, Jeremy will share his experience of effective parliamentary and public campaigning.

Personal experience of detention – an ex-detainee will speak about their experience of detention, the significance of having solidarity on the inside and support on the outside, and the role Medical Justice played in securing their release.

“Alternatives to Detention” pilots and government statements – Theresa and Emma will give an overview of the pilots, UK Border Agency stated plans, and the messages put out to the public by UKBA, the government and some MPs justifying the continued detention of children.

Impact of the “pilots” on children – Dr Matthew Hodes will speak about what impacts the pilots could have on children, especially the new accommodation centre and also arresting and removing families with limited notice and unspecified date.

Response to Medical Justice’s “State Sponsored Cruelty” report – Jon Burnett will speak about the responses, or lack of them, from various quarters, including children’s charities, medical professional bodies and the UK Borders Agency.

What you can do / campaign activities – Stevie will outline some practical actions that supporters can take, including using a Medical Justice briefing, and joining forces with others in a co-ordinated effort to write to MPs, to get MPs to sign an Early Day Motion, and writing letters to newspapers. There will be a chance to hear of similar activities by other organisations and new campaign idea.

Medical Justice highlights and lowlights of 2010
From the low of a father of 5 children ending up dead after restraint by guards during deportation, to the highs of seeing patients whose asylum claims were previous deemed “unfounded” get refugee status. In 2010 Medical Justice has been seeing more patients than ever, as well as more challenging of abuse through parliamentary channels, the media and policy negotiations with the Home Office – all due to your truly tremendous efforts. This is remarkable given our modest resources. Medical Justice is making the overwhelming majority of medical visits by independent doctors into detention centres and we are the only organisation addressing issues of inadequate healthcare experienced by detainees. We have collaborated with more other organisations than ever before are are truly grateful for the fantastic support we get from all our partners.

Mulled wine & mince pies
Celebrate what we achieved in 2010 with mulled wine, soft drinks and mince pies. Some ex-detainees who now leave to remain in the UK will be with us, celebrating their safety.

Cost : nothing (but there will be the usual collection of donations)
Booking a place : please email
Travel reimbursement for those with no right to work : for costs within London with receipt (includes Oyster top-up, which you can get a receipt for).