Royal colleges call to end immigration detention of children

10 December 2009

The Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Faculty of Public Health have today issued a briefing which describes the significant harms to the physical and mental health of children and young people in the UK who are subjected to administrative immigration detention. It argues that such detention is unacceptable and should cease without delay.

The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees are currently campaigning together under the banner OutCry! to end the immigration detention of children and families and today respond to the Royal Colleges’ briefing:

Lisa Nandy, Policy Adviser at The Children’s Society, comments:
“We fully support the statement from the Royal Colleges and join them in condemning an unnecessary practice which seriously harms children’s physical and mental health. We have seen first hand the damage that immigration detention causes- many of the children we work with experience depression, bed-wetting, weight-loss and even self-harm.”

Amanda Shah, Assistant Director of Policy at Bail for Immigration Detainees comments:
“The UK Border Agency claims that the welfare of children within Britain’s immigration system is a priority. It must therefore listen to the expert advice of the Royal Colleges representing GPs, paediatricians and psychiatrists and end the immigration detention of children and families without delay.”

Ends

For more information, please contact
Rachael Bruce, The Children's Society, tel: 020 7841 4422, email rdb@childsoc.org.uk

For a copy of the Intercollegiate Briefing Paper, please contact Ella Wilson at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Ella.Wilson@rcpch.ac.uk, 020 7092 6006

Notes to editors:

Outcry! campaign
The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees are currently campaigning to end the immigration detention of children and their families. Funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, we are campaigning together under the banner OutCry! Sign up to the campaign by visiting www.outcrycampaign.org.uk.

The Children’s Society
The Children's Society is a leading children's charity committed to making childhood better for all children in the UK. Visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk

Bail for Immigration Detainees
Bail for Immigration Detainees is a human rights charity challenging immigration detention in the UK. It provides free legal advice to detained asylum seekers and migrants to help them secure their release and it campaigns to end arbitrary detention. Visit www.biduk.org

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund continues the Princess’ humanitarian work in the UK and overseas. By giving grants to organisations, championing charitable causes, advocacy, campaigning and awareness raising, the Fund works to secure sustainable improvements in the lives of the most vulnerable people in the UK and around the world. Visit www.theworkcontinues.com