Six children were held in detention centres in June 1st August 2011: Child detention in immigration centres continues, despite Nick Clegg’s promise to put an end to the practice. The latest figures from the Home Office show as many as six children were held in detention centres in June.
What is more shocking is that three of the four detained at Tinsley House near Gatwick Airport were under five. They were detained after being refused entry to Britain.
Giving details, the UK Border Agency said they had been held until they could be put on a flight out of the country.
Reacting to the practice, the Refugee Council said: "You either want an end to child detention or you don’t. We do feel progress has been slow."
It may be recalled that the Deputy Prime Minister had made it a personal mission to end child detention in immigration centres by May. The UK Border Agency too had assured that the exercise of detaining children would be put to an end.
As per the figures released by the watchdog about a month back, in 2010 itself, more than 15,000 people, including children, were detained by immigration staff at the airport.
Earlier this year, an HM Inspectorate of Prisons report, a Review of Short-term Holding Facility Inspections 2004–2010, into short-term holding facilities at ports and airports said there was a lack of consciousness among staff of their responsibilities concerning children.
Only about two months ago, the airport independent monitoring board (IMB) had claimed children were being held overnight in "degrading" conditions at Heathrow Airport. The watchdog had even warned the facilities available at the airport were entirely inappropriate.
In its report, the watchdog had claimed that the UK Border Agency had again failed in its duty to treat everyone in its care in Heathrow holding rooms with decency.
Even as the UKBA said the welfare of children within immigration system was an absolute priority, the report said the airport’s detention rooms had poor ventilation, no natural light and inadequate washing facilities.