RMJ calls for end to detention of migrant children with adults

They are being locked up with adults due to age disputes

13 May 2010:
Soon after the new government made clear its intentions of putting to an end the practice of detaining the children of immigrants, the Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ) has expressed hoped the change of policy would also extend to migrant children currently being imprisoned in the country due to disputes about their age.

RMJ chief executive Caroline Slocock said in all cases children should be given the benefit of the doubt, rather than running the risk of locking up children with adults.
She also called on the new government to review “inhumane practices” toward migrant children as highlighted in their report Safe at Last.

The report exposed the fact that exhausted and often unwell children were being interviewed on record on arrival at Dover, without legal representation and without regard to their welfare needs.

In the damning report, “Safe at Last? Children on the Front Line of Border Control”, RMJ had asserted child asylum seekers were being greeted with "oppressive and unlawful" interviews upon their arrival in the UK.

They tasted repressive interviews, even before they were offered basic welfare facilities like rest and food.

On the basis of the findings, it had earlier also urged the UK Border Agency to reconsider its policy of interviewing new entrants to the UK before dealing with their welfare.

The report said youngsters questioned were also denied access to medical treatment, even if they were ill or were suffering serious injuries. Subjecting them to questioning as soon as they arrived also affected their answers. The possibility of this affecting their asylum claim could not be ruled out, it was argued.

Describing the policy as illegal, the group had even petitioned the High Court for a judicial review on the issue.

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