Sunday, 23 September 2012

Lib Dem Back-Slapping Hides Reality of Continued Child Detention

The SNP said the Liberal Democrats are celebrating a job half-done on child detention, as Home Office figures show the number of children being detained doubled in the last year.

The Liberal-Democrat conference agenda today (Sunday) includes a presentation with Nick Clegg MP “to celebrate the Liberal Democrat achievement in government of ending child detention for immigration purposes."

Home Office figures show the number of children entering detention in the second quarter of 2012 was 60, a rise from 26 at the same time last year. The number of children held in Cedars family detention unit, set up as an ‘alternative’ to detention centres like Yarl’s Wood, rose from 11 to 37.

These figures exclude a significant number of children who arrive unaccompanied and are wrongly detained as adults, an issue raised in a report by the Refugee Council earlier this year.

SNP Home Office spokesperson Pete Wishart MP said:

“It’s an absolute scandal that the number of children being locked up in detention centres has doubled in the last year. These are families who are often fleeing violence in countries like Iran, Afghanistan or Syria – what kind of country locks children up for this?

“Nick Clegg once called child detention a ‘moral outrage’ and ‘state sponsored cruelty’ - yet now it’s on the rise under his watch. The lib-dems should be appalled that the number of children entering detention is on an upward trend, and their conference should discuss this reality not ignore it.

“The sixty children who entered detention in the last quarter won’t be joining in the celebrations this weekend. There is no excuse for putting children under lock and key, and plenty of evidence of the severe mental and physical damage which it can cause.

“The lib-dems should stop slapping themselves on the back for a job half-done and pull out all the stops to end child detention once and for all."
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