Press release : Nick Clegg’s announcement on ending detention of children today
We agree with Nick Clegg that detaining children at Yarl’s Wood is a “moral outrage”. So too is the continued indefinite and arbitrary detention of vulnerable women at Yarl’s Wood, including torture survivors, pregnant women, victims of trafficking and women with serious medical conditions, some of whom are denied adequate medical care. We believe that the harm being caused by Yarl’s Wood is so extensive that the only solution is to close it down. We therefore call on the government to close Yarl’s Wood in its entirety today.
Medical Justice welcomes today’s report as a first step that recognises immigration detention damages children and is keen to see a detailed announcement with assurances that children and their families will not be detained for immigration purposes at any other location.
The Home Office have said that they are currently working to find an alternative to detention – Medical Justice wants to see a commitment ruling out the separation of any family members from one another on account of immigration control. We are eager to see the announcement followed up by the relevant policy changes and a firm commitment that the policy changes will not be reversed.
Medical Justice is a charity that organises for independent doctors to visit detainees in immigration removal centres to document scars of torture and/or address instances of denial to adequate medical care.
Medical Justice has produced medical evidence showing that immigration detention harms children and have campaigned to end of child detention since our organisation was established.
Medical Justice volunteer doctors have seen 134 children from 104 families in detention. Their nationalities included Afghani, Cameroonian, Congolese, Iranian, Iraqi, Sri Lankan, Sudanese, and Yemeni.
Of 134 detained children dealt with by Medical Justice volunteer doctors ;
• 34% witnessed or experienced violence during a “dawn raid”, or whilst at a detention centre, or during an attempt to remove them from the UK
• 57% developed medical concerns in detention (e.g. vomiting, loss of weight, developed fever, etc.)
• 46% of the cases involved a failure by the detention centre healthcare unit to adequately treat, or refer medical condition whilst in detention
• 33% cases where detention has had a noticeable, detrimental effect on their child’s behaviour
• 25% cases where a child has been separated from their family in the detention process
• 37% cases where a doctor has raised concerns about no, inadequate, or inappropriate immunisations before a removal was going to take place
Contact : Emma Ginn on firstname.lastname@example.org / 07904 778365