End Child Detention Now, the citizens’ campaign working to end the scandal of child detention by the UK immigration authorities, continues to call for an immediate end to child detention and wants confirmation that the “ensured return” procedure does not involve the detention of children under another name.

Esmé Madill, coordinator of End Child Detention Now said

“The evidence of harm caused by detention is overwhelming and there can be no justification for continuing to lock up children. An immigration system which allows the children of asylum seekers to be detained in conditions which would never be accepted for any other children and young people makes a mockery of the principle that every child matters. Children seeking sanctuary in the UK are among the most vulnerable in our communities and yet they are afforded less protection than any other group of children and young people. If the mark of a civilised nation is how it treats the most vulnerable we can hardly claim to be civilised.”

Commenting on these new developments, Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, who, as England’s first Children’s Commissioner, published a series of shaming reports on the plight of asylum seeking children, said:

“I welcome the statement from the Deputy Prime Minister that detention will end. I am pleased that no child is being held in detention now, that none will be held over Christmas, and that the Family Wing at Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre is to close forthwith. The evidence of harm to children from  detention is incontrovertible, and so what happens between now and May and the proposed process of final return still demand the closest of public scrutiny with ongoing rigorous monitoring of what is being done to children and families.”

“My work whilst Children’s Commissioner exposed poor practice and a failure to promote the best interests of children by the UKBA. Much still remains to be done to document what happens to children when they present at border points; in residential care when unaccompanied; the process of age determination and their outcomes if returned to their countries of origin. Children seeking refuge are children first and foremost and deserve the humanity and dignity that we would expect for children in our own families. Today’s statement is a helpful and courageous step forward.”


Judith Townend/Esmé Madill

End Child Detention Now