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Tom Brake: Yes, we are bringing an end to the detention of child refugees

August 11, 2011 9:32 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

"In her article on the detention of child refugees, Natasha Walter asks: "If a locked centre is called 'pre-departure accommodation', does it cease to be detention?" (Britain is still no refuge for refugees, 28 July). The current practices with regard to children awaiting deportation cannot be - and s hould not be - in any way compared to the shameful past.

"Children are no longer held for weeks, pending their removal from the country during and after their asylum or visa applications. Since current regulations were introduced, no child has been held under these circumstances. Only on the rare occasions when a family was denied entry at the border and there was no immediate return flight, have they been held in pre-departure accommodation until the next available flight, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

"The holding of any child is distressing because of the psychological harm it can cause: we're clear on that. But it would be inaccurate to compare this government's policies to the habitual long-term detention in inadequate facilities of the past. The coalition is not bringing "detention for families back into the asylum process", as Walter claims - it has gone out of its way to end it."

Read the full article on the Guardian website here.