As you will have seen, the immigration detention of children continues to be in the news so we wanted to update you on what has been happening.
In the same week that The Guardian reported the government plans to dilute its pledge to end the immigration detention of children, Medical Justice released a report documenting further the damaging effects of the practice. Evidence from 141 cases over a period of six years showed that just over half the children experienced psychological distress and displayed symptoms such as bedwetting, heightened anxiety, food refusal and self-harm, including three girls who tried to take their own lives. Additionally, 92 children suffered physical health problems (e.g. fever, abdominal pain, coughing blood), which were either caused or exacerbated by their detention. Fifty of these children did not receive adequate healthcare or treatment for these problems.
The Prime Minister and Nick Clegg have both promised to end child detention. However the immigration minister, Damian Green announced in response to a parliamentary question that the government aims only to ‘minimise’ the detention of children. In response to the newspaper reports of ‘a climb down’ the Home Office issued a statement.
In view of the damage done to children by detention, we are resolute in urging the government to end this practice without delay. The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees have expressed concern about Damian Green’s comments and issued a statement calling on the Minister to re-affirm the Government’s commitment to ending child detention through root and branch reform of the asylum and immigration system.
Thank you for your support. We will update you when we know more.
The OutCry! Campaign Team