Tag Archives: child detention

Julian Huppert on making sure the end of child detention is underpinned in law

Julian Huppert MP has written over at the Party’s shiny new website about moves he has made to ensure that child detention has gone for good. One of the very first things the Coalition did, at the instigation of the Liberal Democrats, was to change policy so that children were not detained in horrible places like Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel for immigration purposes. That has now been put on a statutory footing, again thanks to the Liberal Democrats:

Working closely with Norman Baker in the Home Office I was able to secure a commitment from the Home Secretary that the

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Julian Huppert writes … Immigration Bill: Update

I thought it might be useful to let you all know where we’ve reached with the Immigration Bill. Today, we start to discuss each clause in detail in the Bill Committee, which I’m serving on.

I’ve tabled a whole series of amendments, to try to move the Bill back towards the sort of thing that we would like to see.

I’ll be suggesting that students shouldn’t pay the NHS levy – they already contribute to our economy by coming here to study, and we don’t want to drive them away to countries we compete with. I’ll also argue that people who’ve been …

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Layla Moran writes… Child Detention still happens: Boy held at Campsfield for ‘2-3 months’

It is my belief that in a civilized society we should protect children. That they should not be punished for the actions of their parents or grandparents and that they should be given every chance of leading a fulfilled, healthy and normal childhood. And they most certainly should not be locked up without cause because of their family’s decision either.

Celebrating the end of child detention with Citizens UK #LDConf
Photo: Helen Duffett on Flickr.

Sadly for many years, this was not only true but also prevalent. Children who were here illegally were held in immigration deportation centres for months and sometimes years, were not allowed to go to school, not allowed to develop. A child does not, in full understanding of the consequences, make the decision to enter a country illegally. It would have been the decision of their family in whatever form that may take; yet until 2011 they were punished as equals to these adults.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg and Barbara Nalumu – We are proud of having ended child detention

One of the moments I will never forget from the heartbreaking night of the 2011 Holyrood election was our Edinburgh Central candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton’s tweet:

Ending Labour’s  horrendous policy, whereby children were locked up for indeterminate periods in horrible institutions like Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel, is one of the great things to come out of this coalition. Nobody’s saying the UK Border Agency is now perfect. Far from it. But on this, there can be no doubt that the Liberal Democrats ended an unacceptable, inhumane scandal.

Nick Clegg …

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Julian Huppert MP writes… Protecting basic rights for every single child

Tuesday saw the publication of HMIP’s first report into the Cedars ‘pre-departure accommodation’.

For those of you who aren’t versed in UKBA jargon (few are), ‘pre-departure accommodation’ was established in December 2010 as part of our strategy to end Labour’s abhorrent policy of routinely detaining children for immigration purposes.

Under Labour, from 2005-2010, 7000 children who had committed no crime were detained.

Children were imprisoned in appalling conditions, including the now infamous Yarl’s Wood centre.

Detention was often for weeks and months. In one case, for 190 days. The policy was one of locking children up indefinitely – an atrocious course of …

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After the ending of child detention – what next?

After the moving and amazing presentation and big “thank you” to the Lib Dems from Citizens UK on the Sunday morning of conference, for ending the detention of children of asylum seekers, what could possibly follow it?

The next day the newly formed “Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary”, along with Citizens UK, met in a nearby Church Hall. Those who had been, and were going through, the asylum process in the UK and were connected with both Citizens UK and Movement for Justice had come down to tell their stories. There to listen were members of the House …

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LDVideo: Citizens UK thank Liberal Democrats for ending child detention for immigration purposes

I wrote recently of a very emotional and heartwarming presentation at Conference in Brighton by Citizens UK who came along to thank the Liberal Democrats for what we had done to end child detention for immigration purposes. Nick Clegg and Sarah Teather both spoke in response. To cheer you up on an autumnal Friday afternoon, here is the whole thing in video. Enjoy.

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New Liberal Democrat group to help seekers of sanctuary

Liberal Democrats, as a party, have a proud record of standing up for the way our country views and treats with compassion and humanity those who seek sanctuary in our country. This culminated in the ending of the detention of children in the notorious Yarlswood, and the opening of the new pre departure accommodation at Cedars, for those families with children who were sadly being returned to their country of origin.

As well as actions as a party though, there are very many individuals who are both concerned about, and working with and for, asylum seekers in their locality.  This ranges …

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DPMQs: Clegg shows his passion on a range of issues

As usual, questions to the Deputy Prime Minister this week covered a large variety of subjects. Nick Clegg was on passionate form on several issues.

Harriet Harman asked if he would “admit that he urgently needs to take further action to help the young unemployed?”. Refreshingly, Nick Clegg did admit this, adding:

…it would be a real dereliction of duty if we did not do more to try to make sure that young people are given a real pathway into training, further and higher education or the labour market. As the right hon. and learned Lady will know, youth unemployment has increased

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Tom Brake MP writes: Child detention – work in progress

The Liberal Democrats played the central role in delivering the Coalition Government’s commitment to end child detention and we have delivered big time.   In 2009 under Labour, more than a thousand children were held in pre-departure detention. In August 2011, there were just three children detained under immigration powers. 
 
Indeed, the Children’s Society has acknowledged the progress the Government has made on tackling the number of children held in pre-departure detention.  But, the recent figures from the Children’s Society make it crystal clear that we must now focus with the same determination on the detention of children, who have arrived at …

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The Independent View: Why it’s time for Nick Clegg to really end child detention

Among the Liberal Democrat policy gains that Nick Clegg attributed to the coalition government in his party conference speech last month was the ending of child detention. The same claim was made in the Liberal Democrat ‘List of Achievements’ and in a speech at the National Liberal Club summing up the party’s record one year into the coalition government.

The only problem with this claim is that it is not true. Child detention has not ended in the United Kingdom.

According to the Migration Observatory, more than 400 children were detained by the UK Border Agency in 2010. Certainly …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 11 Comments

LibLink | Tom Brake MP: Yes, we are bringing an end to the detention of child refugees

One of the Lib Dems’ key 2010 election manifesto pledges was that child detention in immigration centres would be ended. A year after Tom Brake MP welcomed this Lib Dem policy being adopted by the Coalition government, he has written for The Guardian to highlight how the policy is improving the lives of those young and innocent victims who were treated so disgracefully by the Labour government:

The current practices with regard to children awaiting deportation cannot be – and should not be – in any way compared to the shameful past. Children are no longer held for weeks,

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Opinion: Young Liberal Democrats – Life After the ‘F’ Word

The last year has obviously been a rather interesting one in which to be a Liberal Democrat, particularly a young one. Sadly, as a result of some coalition decisions, notably the increase in tuition fees, some young people have chosen to leave the party. More worrying are the people that may now never join. I have always believed that the Liberal Democrats are the party that best advocates policy for young people. However, the question remains, how do we engage more young people in our party after fees?

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The Independent View: Child detention – mind the gap between rhetoric and reality

‘Today marks a big culture shift within our immigration system,’ said Nick Clegg two weeks ago, announcing plans purporting to end child detention. ‘That practice, the practice we inherited, ends here,’ he said.

Sadly, it didn’t end there.

Liberal Democrats interested in these matters might take a look at two dossiers of evidence compiled by End Child Detention Now and published on openDemocracy.

Mind the Gap! Coalition claims and realities for child detention in the UK tests the new ‘compassionate approach to family returns’ as expressed in government documents released on December 16

Drawing on evidence elsewhere, for instance an HMIP report on …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | 18 Comments

Opinion: what the Guardian isn’t telling you

Mehdi Hasan has a provocative article in the Guardian So what, Nick Clegg, made you forget liberty? It is standard Guardian fare these days: you can’t trust the Lib Dems.

The “delay” in completing the abolition child detention in deportation cases is the focus of his attack.

To be fair, he acknowledges that Labour hardly look good on the issue:

child detention in this country is one of the most obscene and unforgivable legacies of the ultra-authoritarian New Labour years. In 2001 the Blair government made the populist decision to detain children and families who were subject to immigration

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Ending detention of children for immigration purposes: details and dates published

Today (as predicted) Nick Clegg is announcing the details of how the government will end detention of children for immigration purposes.

Since the government review started on 1 June, the number in detention has dropped sharply – 78 compared to 594 in the same period under Labour in 2009. Now the government is committed both to ensuring that no children are in detention over Christmas and that the policy is completely abolished by May. As previously announced, the family wing at Yarl’s Wood being shut. (More details here.)

Tom Brake (Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs …

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“Nick Clegg to announce timetable for ending child detentions”

That’s The Guardian’s headline on this story:

Nick Clegg is seeking cabinet approval for his plans to secure an end to the practice of detaining children in immigration removal centres, with government sources suggesting he wants to see no children in detention by the spring…

Clegg will promise a timetable before Christmas for ending the practice, but he will say he is unable to announce a final deadline as the policy is wending its way through the cabinet home affairs committee.

He is also said to be limited by the pace of working out humane alternatives to locking up families with children who

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Peers call for end of child detention in immigration centres

Following the Home Office’s decision to postpone until March the end of child detention in immigration removal centres, a group of peers has written to the Guardian calling for the government to honour their commitment to end the practice.

The group of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Crossbench peers includes Roger Roberts and Navnit Dholakia, as well as Sue Miller, who told Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning that the equivalent of four or five primary schools per year are being locked up:

We are really tired of waiting for the end of child detention… We need not to lock

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Opinion: Indefinite Immigration Detention and the Coalition at Party Conference

Like so many Lib Dems, I’m really pleased our participation in the Coalition is leading to the end of child detention. But the crisis in the detention system goes much deeper and wider than locking up children. There is an urgent need to consider how we can use our influence to reform the detention system. To make this happen I’ve helped to organise a fringe meeting with London Detainee Support Group (LDSG), a charity that supports and advises detainees.

Every week I see this crisis when I visit Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre as an LDSG volunteer. My …

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Sarah Teather: Coalition is committed to ending child detention

There has been some speculation that the Government is prepared to walk back on its commitment to end child detention.

I want to say, clearly and on the record, this is not the case.

Nick Clegg has rightly described the locking up of children for immigration purposes as a moral outrage. More than 1,000 children were detained in this way during Labour’s last year in government, often for months on end.

Today, the charity Medical Justice has published a report documenting the physical and psychological harm that children suffer in prolonged detention. It makes grim reading. They studied 141 cases since 2004 and found that just over half had suffered some form of psychological harm, including three girls who attempted suicide. They also found the majority had physical problems that were caused or exacerbated by their detention.

This will not be allowed to continue.

Posted in Op-eds | 18 Comments

Lib Dems on child detention: read our lips, it will be ended

The Guardian today carries a story, Government climbdown on detention of children in immigration centres, which — if it were accurate — would have Lib Dems hopping mad. Thankfully, it’s not accurate.

It was six weeks ago, at his first acting stint at Prime Minister’s Questions, that Nick Clegg formally announced that (as per the Lib Dem manifesto and Coalition agreement) the practise of child detention would end:

It was simply a moral outrage that last year the Labour government imprisoned, behind bars, 1,000 children who were innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever. This coalition government will once again restore a

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Norman Lamb: “A Queen’s Speech of which Liberal Democrats can be proud”

It is worth spending a moment reflecting on just how remarkable today’s Queen’s Speech is from a Liberal Democrat perspective.

We have become conditioned to believe that the policies we develop will never be implemented. A good intellectual exercise but nothing more. Yet here we have a programme for government of which we can be proud. It contains an extraordinary list of Liberal Democrat commitments on which we fought the general election.

Right from the start the speech grabs attention:

My Government’s legislative programme will be based upon the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility.

Who would have dreamt of those words introducing the Queen’s speech just a few weeks ago?

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