Sunday, 29 November 2009




A report from the Home Affairs Select Committee has backed the view of the Scottish Government and Parliament that holding the children of asylum seekers in detention centres is wrong.

The Committee report recommends that the power to detain children should be used “only sparingly, as a last resort and for the shortest possible time” and rejects claims that families due for deportation would abscond without detention saying that “we believe that this risk is very low and in both moral and financial terms it is a price worth paying to prevent the long-term, indeterminate detention of small children.”

While the report focuses on Yarls Wood in England, children are also detained at Dungavel in Lanarkshire.

A recent case in Scotland, highlighted by the media including today's Scottish News of the World has seen a 10 year old girl detained first at Dungavel and now at Yarls Wood as she and her mother wait to see if their case for judicial review will be accepted.

SNP MSP Anne McLaughlin, who is currently working with Florence Mhango and her daughter Precious welcomed the House of Commons support saying:

“Scottish society at all levels has strongly objected to the detention of children behind bars at Dungavel.

“The raw numbers in this report highlight the unacceptable number of children being detained with one sample showing up to a third had been detained for more than 30 days when there is no real risk they will abscond.

“The experience of 10 year old Precious Mhango shows how distressing it can be for children to be detained. Precious goes to school in Glasgow, she belongs in Scotland but the indiscriminate asylum system has seen her detained twice when there is no danger that her family would abscond.

“Her unnecessary detention is exactly what this report is talking about.

“There is a real campaign building behind Florence and Precious to keep them in Scotland and to ensure no other children go through the experience of detention that Precious has had to face.”

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