Statement: Our response to announcement on ending child detention

This morning Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a deadline of May 12, 2011, for an end to child detention in the UK.

Clegg revealed that the much-criticised family unit at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre in Bedfordshire will close with immediate effect. Dungavel’s family unit was closed this summer. A package of alternate measures was also announced.

In response, Simon Hodgson, Director of Policy and Communications at Scottish Refugee Council, said: ‘We welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement that the detention of children will end by May 12 next year, and that the family unit at Yarl’s Wood will close immediately.

‘This commitment has been a long time coming – and we hope that no other child will need to go through the trauma of detention between now and next May.

‘The package of alternative measures outlined by immigration minister Damian Green this morning do appear to have the best interests of the child at heart. We look forward to hearing more details, in particular on how the pre-removal accommodation will work in practice, and how some of the other measures such as the Independent Family Returns Panel will work. 

‘Today’s announcement shows that the asylum system does not need to be based upon figures and targets, but can be led by compassion and respect for human rights. We would hope that this spirit of compassion will now be fed into the UK government’s review of the entire asylum system, which is still underway.’

 

End

Notes to Editors:

Scottish Refugee Council is an independent charity dedicated to providing advice, information and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees living in Scotland. We also provide specialist services in areas such as housing and welfare, women's issues, community development, the media and the arts.

We play a leading role in policy development and campaign on refugee issues to ensure that Scotland plays a full role in meeting the UK's legal and humanitarian obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees.

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