Tuesday, August 10, 2010

State sponsored cruelty’: the immigration detention of children

Julian Huppert MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP invite you to ;
The launch of the Medical Justice report ; ‘State sponsored cruelty’: the immigration detention of children

4-6pm Thursday 9th September 2010
Committee Room 10, House of Commons

Discussion : The report and the next steps to ending the immigration detention of children

Welcome : Julian Huppert MP - Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees

Speakers :
* Mr. S - detained with his partner and children at Yarl's Wood detention centre
* Dr Sarah Wynick - child and adolescent psychiatrist
* Jon Burnett - Medical Justice, author of ‘State sponsored cruelty’
* UK Borders Agency representative (invited)

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the indefinite immigration detention of children as ‘state sponsored cruelty’. Prime Minister David Cameron said “we will end the incarceration of children for immigration purposes once and for all”.

Download the Medical Justice 2008 Annual Report

We are concerned that the government has provided no timescales as to when the immigration detention of children will actually be abolished. Powers still exist to arrest and forcibly remove children from the UK by harmful means, including separating and detaining one parent, detaining a single parent and putting the child “in care”, and forcibly removing one family member from the UK without the others. Continued use of these harmful mechanisms has not been ruled out. New mechanisms under consideration include issuing removal directions whereby the date is withheld from the family until they are arrested, zero-notice removals (UKBA is appealing the July 2010 ruling that such removals are illegal), and short-term detention (which we consider to be little different from current policy whereby children are detained only in “exceptional circumstances” but have, in reality, been detained seemingly indiscriminately for weeks or even months).

The Australian government said they had stopped detaining children but reverted back to it – they just called it something different. We are anxious that there will be no such U-turn in the UK. We need policy and legislation change that eliminates all forms of family detention and separation, and related harmful practices to effect forced removals.

‘State sponsored cruelty’: the immigration detention of children’ presents the findings of the first large scale investigation in the UK into the physical and psychological harms consolidated by and/or caused by the administrative detention of children. This report draws on medical and legal evidence gathered and generated by independent doctors assessing 141 children detained between 2004 and April 2010, and exposes medical negligence, medical abuse, and structural harm ;

* 92 children where detention was reported to have detrimentally impacted on their physical health;

* 50 children who were reported to have received inadequate medical care;

* 74 children reported to be psychologically harmed as a result of being detained;

* 48 children reported to have witnessed violence in the detention estate;

* 13 children reported to have been physically harmed as a result of violence; and

* 50 cases : concerns raised about failures to provide adequate immunisations before attempted removal.

The report provides powerful support to the government’s stated commitment to end the detention of children. It will be used to hold the government to account and ensure we never again allow ‘State sponsored cruelty’.

To book a place : Please email emma.ginn@medicaljustice.org.ukThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information about the report : Please contact Jon Burnett on j.burnett@medicaljustice.org.ukThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it / 07807 726546

Notes ;

1,065 children were detained In 1009. 50% of them were released, calling the effectiveness of detention into question. Detaining a family of four for between 4 and 8 weeks costs over £20,000. Making the ending of detention of children contingent on developing alternative ways of removing families from the UK would be reprehensible, given the medical evidence that detention harms children and that UKBA admit families do not generally abscond.

Medical Justice is the only organization in the UK which organises volunteer doctors to visit men, women and children in detention centres to document scars of torture and/or challenge instances of inadequate medical provision. We are a small charity, currently handling around 1,000 cases a year. The unmet need is great. Our network includes doctors, lawyers, campaigners, scholars, and ex-detainees.

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