General Election 2010: background information and suggestions for action for Local Meetings

Detention of children

Every year 1000 children are locked up in the UK because their parents’ asylum cases have been rejected and they are scheduled for deportation. The children (and their parents) have committed no crime and have often fled from countries where they experienced violence, war and discrimination.  They are the only children in this country who can be locked up indefinitely without any involvement of the courts. The effects on the children of being locked up include depression, weight-loss, bed-wetting and even self-harm. The government believes that families run away from the authorities if they are not detained, but there is no evidence of this – in fact the evidence from countries which do not detail families and children indicates the opposite. The education and health needs of the children and the desire for friendship and stability prevent families from disappearing.

For information about the Outcry campaign go to

For information about alternatives as practised in other countries go to

Look at the Children’s Society’s campaign OutCry and write to your prospective Parliamentary candidates to demand an end to this practice.


Many asylum-seekers are left destitute and without status at the end of their process; without permission to work, without access to benefits. Although their asylum cases may have “failed”, they are forced to stay in the UK either because it is unsafe for them to return to their country of origin, or because their governments will not provide them with new travel documents. Many are left in limbo, waiting for years in this situation and dependent on charity or kindness of friends, or running the risk of being exploited in illegal employment.

Write to your prospective Parliamentary candidates asking that all asylum-seekers be given the right to work legally.


Many asylum-seekers are given what is called “Section 4 support” which consists of accommodation and vouchers for named supermarkets, worth only £35 a week. Sometimes this situation lasts for years. Many projects exchange these vouchers for cash, but this is likely to be impossible in the future with the new “Azure card” which is topped up weekly but cannot be used to obtain cash at ATMs. This will make it impossible for asylum-seekers to have any cash whatsoever.

Write to your prospective Parliamentary candidates demanding that asylum-seekers be incorporated into the state benefit system.

[from Central England Area Quaker Asylum Group]