UK: Detention of children still ongoing

 Despite the UK coalition government's 2010 pledge to end child detention, the Children's Society unveiled that the UK Border Agency detained 697 children between May and August 2011 at all Greater London and South East ports.
One-third of the children were unaccompanied minors. Using these findings, the Children's Society estimates that as many as 2,000 children could be detained each year.

The Children's Society chief executive, Bob Reitmeier, was "horrified" at the "excessive numbers of children" held in detention. He is "disappointed that the Government ha snot kept these numbers to a minimum."
According to Mr Reitmeier, the findings, which come from a Freedom of Information Request, "raises serious questions about the committment to end the immigration detention of children."
The findings point to the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) ongoing detention of minors at points of entry. According to the Children's Society, the UKBA is not sufficiently monitoring how often it detains minors at the borders, nor for how long. The organisation is calling for an official inquiry into this practice.
Earlier this month, the Vatican's representative to the United Nations in Geneva, H.E. Archbischop Silvano Tomasi, made an official statement criticising the ongoing detention of unaccompanied minors. The Archbishop voiced concern over the "hundres of unauthorized lone boys from the Middle East and other places ... making their way across Europe."
"The increased visibility acquired by unaccompanied minors claiming asylum in developed countries calls for a renewed attention to their needs of protection," said the Archbishop.
He continued: "detention and closed accommodations prove to be inappropriate for minors in particular, as does the mixing of children with adults in these facilities."
In March of this year, the Council of Europe published a report on situation of unaccompanied minors migrating to Europe. The report states, "no unaccompanied child should be refused entry at the border or summarily deported," and unaccompanied children "should never be held in detention."
The negative effects of detention on children are widely known. In it's 2010 report Becoming Vulnerable in Detention, JRS Europe found that detained minors suffered from very severe mental health trauma, and that some were mixed with unknown adults and consequently made extermely vulnerable to harm.
"Minors, whether accompanied or not, should never be placed into immigration detention, for it is certain to cause irreparable trauma," says Philip Amaral, JRS Europe policy and communications officer.
He continues: "The findings from our research in 2010 show that detention has a distinctively deteriorative effect on whomever experiences it. This finding is as true for adults as it is for children. Putting a minor in immigration detention is akin to leaving an indelible blackmark on their lives."(


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