UK ends detention of asylum seeker kids

2010-12-16 19:52
London - The British government said on Thursday it would end the "shameful" practice of holding the children of failed asylum-seekers in detention centres while they await deportation.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the family wing at Yarl's Wood removal centre outside London, the main site for holding women and children, would close immediately and the practice would end completely by May.

Children's campaign group Barnardo's welcomed the announcement, which it said signalled a "good day for the UK's reputation as a nation".

Clegg said the decision, the fulfilment of an election pledge by his Liberal Democrats party, which shares power in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led coalition, marked a "big culture shift" in immigration.

1 000 children detained in 2009

It "puts our values - the protection of children - above paranoia over our borders", he said.

"We are ending the shameful practice that last year alone saw over 1 000 children - 1 000 innocent children - imprisoned. The practice under (the former government run by) Labour, saw children literally taken from their homes, without warning, and placed behind bars."

Under the new plans, families who have failed in their application to remain in Britain will be managed by an independent panel of experts, and will be given help to plan their return home.

As a last resort, if they refuse help and refuse to go home, they could spend up to 72 hours in independently-run, "pre-departure accommodation". But the children will be able to leave the premises, unlike under current rules.

Good day for UK

Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo's, welcomed the move as "a good day for the desperate and wretched families who will no longer have to suffer the trauma" of immigration detention centres, and a good day for Britain.

"The end of child detention at Yarl's Wood is a hugely significant event," he said.

"Incarcerating them simply because they have parents who wish to live here was unnecessary, expensive and more to the point, just plain wrong."

He said the last resort solution was a "small and necessary price to pay".

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks take ‘no mercy’ approach
Burger to equal Bok RWC record
Japan victory attracts record TV figures
iPads the secret to Japanese RWC success
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.