Locking up asylum children is inhumane, say MEPs
THE children of asylum seekers should not be held in detention centres, a group of European MPs said yesterday.
MEPs said the conditions in which the children found themselves were "not humane" and urged the UK government to find an alternative.
The MEPs presented their preliminary findings after visiting three removal centres: Yarl's Wood, Bedfordshire; Oakington in Cambridgeshire; and Harmondsworth, near Heathrow.
They said conditions were generally good, but Cypriot MEP Panayiotis Demetriou said they had concerns over the length of time immigrants were held and the conditions for children.
He said: "It's not an easy thing to send the children from their mother and their family. But it's not humane to see very young children confined in these centres under the rules of safety which are required to keep control of a centre. This must be dealt with by the authorities."
Dungavel, Scotland's detention centre for failed asylum seekers, has been the focus of criticism because babies and children are housed alongside adults there.
The controversy has been tied to objections by MSPs - and the Scottish Government - over the use of dawn raids by Immigration Service officers in Scotland to apprehend families of failed asylum seekers. Ministers have argued it is wrong to separate children of asylum seekers from their families.
A Home Office spokeswoman said there are 44 children currently detained with their families in Britain. She said the system has a capacity to hold 164 families at a time.
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