UK Liberty

Won’t somebody think of the children?

Posted in detention without charge by ukliberty on December 4, 2008

When the Government proposes a measure it sometimes exhorts us to think of an unknown number of children who would suffer if we didn’t support it (for example ContactPoint) – emotional blackmail by any other name.

The very same Government is, however, complicit in the suffering of a known number of children in Immigration Detention Centres, for example Yarl’s Wood, which it is planning to expand, in terms of doubling the capacity.  See this report.

And it is only recently that the Government

lifted its reservation to the application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’s to asylum-seeking children, marking a triumphant end to a 17-year battle for campaigners.

The UK government ratified the UNCRC in 1991. However, when it did so it entered a general reservation relating to immigration and citizenship which allows it to apply legislation relating to immigration without having to have regard to the principles and provisions of the UNCRC – legislation that will affect children seeking asylum, trafficked children and all other children subject to immigration control.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN treaty monitoring body for the UNCRC, has twice strongly criticised the UK’s reservation in the past.

So when the Government tries this emotional blackmail about some unknown number of children, when it wants our money for some ridiculously intrusive database that won’t work, let’s consider the known number of children it doesn’t seem to give a damn about – such as the ones imprisoned in places like Yarl’s Wood, on whom the money might be better spent.


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