Detention of Asylum Seeking Children

The Deputy Prime Minister, as part of his speech to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the formation of the Refugee Council in the UK, said the policy of detaining children has stopped.

While, the Children's Society produced a new research report called ‘What Have I Done? The experiences of children and families in UK immigration detention' which examines the experiences of 32 families detained prior to the pledge to end the detention of children.

It emphasises the importance of safeguarding issues around the use of detention and the impact to children, some of the experiences collected include:

  • Children witnessing traumatic events, including hunger strikes and suicide attempts and the use of restraint on their parents.
  • High levels of stress, fear, confusion, and feelings of hopelessness and degradation experienced by family members in detention.
  • Many children did not eat, or lost weight, during detention. Families had medication removed upon arrival or missed important medical appointments as a consequence of detention. One child was detained for a second time despite suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after her first detention.
  • The majority of children experienced emotional distress during detention, including sleeplessness, nightmares and constant crying.
  • After release from detention, the majority of families experienced on-going and persistent effects on their mental and emotional health.

You can find the report, and more about the Children's Society, at their website here.

Deputy Prime Minister's speech to mark 60 year of the Refugee Council

The Deputy Prime Minister gave a keynote speech on 10 May 2011 to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the formation of the Refugee Council in the UK.

The DPM accepted that there is still more progress to be made, but praised the UK's role in human rights issues.

He hoped that the UK should aim for the 'most compassionate, efficient, dignified asylum system in the world.' He pointed out that half of asylum cases are now decided within a month, and promised to ensure the system is fair as it becomes faster.

He said that just as important as helping refugees was taking a stand against regimes that pose a threat to peace and restricts the liberty of their people — he highlighted Burma, North Korea, Libya and Syria.