END CHILD DETENTION NOW – PRESS RELEASE: Clegg and Cameron break their promise to end child detention with the opening of a new family detention centre in Sussex.
End Child Detention Now deplores the opening of a new child and family detention facility in Mid Sussex and calls for an urgent parliamentary debate so that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg can be called to account for breaching his promise to end the detention of children that he made in May of last year.
The new immigration detention facility at Pease Pottage has the capacity to hold up to 4,500 family members a year, and its description as ‘pre departure accommodation’ is designed to mislead the public about its true function as an immigration removal centre in which many families could be held for up to a week.[i]
End Child Detention Now Coordinator, Dr Simon Parker, commented:
“We have seen the damage that even short periods of detention can have on the lives of the thousands of children that were detained by the previous Labour government. The opening of Pease Pottage represents a major step backwards in the campaign to end what Nick Clegg himself described as the ‘state sponsored cruelty’ of detaining children.”
“The UK Border Agency has publicly admitted that families living in the community pose no significant risk of absconding—so why has a special needs school been expensively refurbished and staffed by global security giant G4S and the children’s charity Barnardo’s? Sadly it would seem that innocent children will once again be locked up to appease tabloid headline writers and to service the profits of Britain’s lucrative detention industry.”
“Our campaign to end child detention will continue until all child immigration prisons including Pease Pottage and Tinsley House are closed for good.”
End Child Detention Now
2 September 2011
[i] Note to editors – the new facility will have its own Independent Monitoring Board, as do all prisons and detention centres, and detainees will be subject to the 1971 Immigration Act which permits the forcible detention of persons under immigration control. The term ‘pre-departure accommodation’ has no meaning under the immigration acts.