Refugee Council: Use of force on families facing removal “unacceptable”

Refugee Council has criticised the use of force on children and pregnant women at the Cedars pre-departure accommodation for families facing removal from the UK.

Reacting to a report by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons which revealed that force had been used against six families going through the facility including a pregnant woman, Judith Dennis, Policy Officer at the Refugee Council said the use of force on a pregnant woman “is completely unacceptable.”

“When the government announced it would end the detention of children for immigration purposes we hoped there would be no need for more HMIP inspections of family detention facilities,” Dennis said.

Dennis observed that “the arrest and removal of families can cause enormous damage to the wellbeing of children, their parents, and unborn children in this case, and so must stop as a matter of urgency.”

Refugee Council reminded the government to keep its pledge and end detention of children for immigration purposes. “The fact remains that holding families at Cedars still involves locking families up and using physical force to remove them. We have repeatedly called for the government to live up to its pledge made in May 2010 that they would end the detention of children,” Dennis said. “Yet the numbers of children in detention are increasing. The government acknowledged then how harmful this practice is for children, so why are they still continuing to do it?”

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