Please sign, share and circulate: Stop Detention of Children Asylum Seekers in the UK by the UKBA

Posted by Dr Gill Gillespie, Director, UK:


Yarlswood Detention Centre

Iranian Refugees Action Network reports that, in a recent article by Danny Shaw of the BBC (17 October 2011), figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show 697 under 18s were detained between May and August 2011 at the Port of Dover and at airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

The Children’s Society, which obtained the data, said it was “horrified” and called the numbers “excessive”. The BBC reported that, of those detained, more than a quarter were travelling alone.
In July of 2010, the government said it would end detention for the children of failed asylum seekers by May of this year. This is clearly not the case, as such detentions continue.
Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Children’s Society, said: “We are horrified at the excessive numbers of children being held…

“We’re also concerned that detailed information isn’t being monitored centrally by the Home Office, including why they are being held, their age and critically the length of time that they were held.
“We are calling on the Home Office to launch an enquiry in to why excessive numbers of children are being held on the entry to the UK when this was clearly not intended to be the case.”

The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, has expressed concerns about the practice.

The Independent Monitoring Board recently described some detention facilities at Heathrow as “degrading”.
Please sign this petition, which will automatically send an email to William Hague, the UK Foreign Secretary, and Damian Green, the UK Minister for Immigration, asking for them to keep their 2010 promise and immediately end to all child detention by the UKBA. The petition also calls for appropriate psychological support and assistance for all children and their parents seeking a safe country of settlement in the UK – not in the appalling conditions in detention centres, but integration into communities where they can recover from their ordeals and contribute to society in the way they wish and deserve

Click here to sign

Very Disappointing – UK ‘Opts Out’ of Fairer Approach for Asylum

The Economic Times, 17 October 2011:

LONDON: Britain has refused to implement two asylum directives of the European Union as part of its moves to be tough on immigration and asylum seekers.

Signing up to the EU’s Reception Conditions Directive would meant Britain could allow asylum seekers to work after six months, even if their claims had been refused and they were appealing against the decision.

Immigration Minister Damian Green has informed Parliament that the UK will not be opting into the EU asylum directives.

According to him, the directives would have ‘restricted the country’s ability to run an asylum system which is both fair and efficient’.

“This Government does not support a common asylum system in Europe. That is why we have not opted in to these directives and will not opt in to any proposal which would weaken our border,” Green said.

A Home Office release said that signing up to the directives would have sent out the “wrong message, encouraging those who do not need our protection to make unfounded asylum claims”.

“It would also have required all detention to be authorised by a judge, whether or not the detainee wanted to apply for bail. This would have placed a burden on our courts and been costly for the British taxpayer,” the Home Office said in a statement.

It said that opting in to the Procedures Directive “would have jeopardised ways of working which enable the UK to manage straightforward asylum claims effectively – in particular the Detained Fast Track which provides speedy but fair decisions for asylum seekers whose claims can be decided quickly.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Refugees Action Network, and other charities, have highly skilled and qualified refugees wanting to come to the UK, which they have now been told by the UN has ‘closed its borders’ for at least this year.  These victims of torture and other human rights atrocities simply wish a safe country of resettlement, and hope the UK will consider its decision to be once again in the ‘slow lane’ of human rights.



Free Publications to assist Torture Victims

By Dr Gill Gillespie

Freedom From Torture ( are making available a wide variety of resources to help those who have been victims of torture, or those who are assisting them.

The include ‘A dozen differences to remember when working with refugee families’ by Jeremy Woodcock, and ‘Adaptation After Torture: Some Thoughts on the Long-Term Effects of Surviving a Repressive Regime’, by Caroline Gorst-Unsworth.

Iranian Refugees Action Network highly recommends those working with torture victims visit Freedom From Tortures website to avail themselves of these resources here