19 May 2010

UK immigration minister announces child detention at Dungavel centre to end

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The UK immigration minister has announced that children will no longer be held at the Dungavel immigration removal centre, instead families with children with moved to a specialist centre in Bedfordshire.

The policy will be introduced immediately while a review was carried out into the alternatives to detention, UK immigration minister Damian Green said.

The coalition deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats included a commitment to end the detention of children at Dungavel, but the government was embarrassed when it emerged that a woman and her baby daughter had been detained at the centre on Monday.

The woman and her eight-month-old baby will be moved to the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, which has specialist family and child facilities.
 
"We are committed to ending the detention of all children for immigration purposes. I hope that we can have plans agreed within the next few months," Mr Green said.
 
Chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, John Wilkes, described the move as a "good step" but said the issue remains that children are still detained. 
 
"I've visited both places and they are detention centres," he told the BBC.

"All this means is that while they work out the new process that they are going to put in place, children are still going to be detained, it seems - they're just going to be taken down to England to be detained instead. The sooner we end that practice the better."


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