Nick Clegg: Child Detention will end in May 2011

Girl with toys, photo c. UNHCR

This morning (Wednesday, 16 December) Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a deadline of May 11, 2011 for an end to child detention in the UK.

The Home Office 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. In a press release from the Home Office Clegg said: ‘We are placing the welfare of children and families at the centre of a fairer and more compassionate system’.

Our response

Simon Hodgson, Director of Policy and Communications at Scottish Refugee Council, said in response: ‘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.

More details needed

'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.’

Read more about the package of alternative measures proposed on the Home Office website.

Read our press release

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