Tag Archives: yarl’s wood

Lib Dems react to closure of Cedars family immigration facility

One of the great things that Liberal Democrats ensured was that children would no longer be detained for immigration purposes. Instead, a pre-departure facility for families, Cedars, was set up with advice and support from Barnardos.

When we left Government, I feared it would be a matter of time before this excellent facility was closed.

And so, amid the flurry of announcements put out by the Government on the last day before the Summer recess, the news came yesterday. Cedars was being closed and families with children will once again be held in a detention centre Tinsley House.

Unsurprisngly, Liberal Democrats have reacted with horror.

Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Cedars was a civilised way of dealing with some of the most vulnerable young people in our care.

Ending the detention of children in lock-down institutions was something that the Liberal Democrats forced Theresa May as Home Secretary to do against her will. Now there are no restraints on her, she will indulge the more callous instincts of her party.

Having Tories in government is a bit like sharing your home with a cat. You may think that you have a domestic pet but the feral animal is never far beneath the surface.

He also sought assurances that families in Scotland would not be held in the Dungavel facility:

One of the first things that Lib Dems in government forced the then Home Secretary Theresa May to do was end the detention of children for immigration purposes. Days after coming to power she has thrown away years of progress.

What this decision means in practice is a return to situation where young children will find themselves in detention centres surrounded by razor wire and guards. This is a huge step backwards.

Previously, we had seen some children locked up at Dungavel for more than a year and there were damning reports on the level of educational support provided to children at the site. The last thing we need is a return to a situation where young people in the immigration system are treated like cattle, not children.

The Prime Minister needs to scrap her plans to close Cedars and we need urgent assurances that this inhumane decision will not open the door to a return to child detention at Dungavel.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 8 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments
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