Comment – closure of Cedars removal centre
BID is deeply concerned by the government’s announcement – on the last day before the parliamentary recess – that Cedars pre-departure accommodation is to be closed and that families facing removal from the UK will instead be held at new accommodation at Tinsley House Removal Centre.
Following a long-running campaign against the detention of children by BID and others, the coalition government announced in May 2010 that they would end the shocking detention of children in the UK for immigration purposes. In circumstances where an entire family was to be removed from the UK, and accommodation was required prior to their removal, the Cedars facility was opened to ensure that children did not have to endure the devastating experience of being held in detention centres.
Even with the government’s pledge, the detention of children has not ended entirely. In the past twelve months, 110 children entered detention (compared with 1,119 in 2009). Just 33 of those children were removed from the UK. Nine children were detained for a week or more.
BID remains very clear that it is unacceptable to detain even one child for even a single day. The use of detention is not, and will never be, an appropriate measure for managing a child’s immigration status. The closure of Cedars, and decision to “house” families pre-departure at an Immigration Removal Centre represents, as far as BID is concerned, a fundamental and unacceptable reversal in the government’s position on the detention of children.
We are dismayed that, six years after making a pledge to stop this abhorrent practice, not only are children still being detained, but they will soon find themselves again within the environments of a detention centre. Experts are united in agreeing that detention does irreparable damage to a child’s wellbeing. We are appalled that the government has decided to expose children once again to this damage. We deplore any moves to expose children to the horrors of detention and reaffirm our vision of a world free from unnecessary, arbitrary and indefinite detention for the purpose of immigration control.