Children's Commissioner report on Yarl's Wood finds significant shortcomings - Refugee Council
December 21, 2005

Children’s Commissioner report on Yarl’s Wood finds significant shortcomings

The first report on Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre from the Children’s Commissioner for England has found significant shortcomings in the process by which children are detained.

The report, written by Professor Al Aynsley-Green following a visit to the Bedfordshire-based removal centre in October, criticised the methods by which children are rounded-up, the information available to children through the process and the prison-like environment of Yarl’s wood in which they are detained. The report points to many gaps between best practice and the reality on the ground and contains 17 wide-ranging recommendations.

Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We welcome this very useful report which includes sections graphically showing the reality of life for children detained in Yarl’s Wood, and finds many aspects of the system disturbing, as any independent person will do. We know that detention harms children – and we don’t believe it is useful – and so we call for it to be phased out.”

The four UK Children’s Commissioners also have expressed their concern to the Home Office at the way in which asylum-seeking children and young people are treated in the UK. The Commissioners are calling on the government to ensure that asylum-seeking children and young people are treated as children by all those involved at every stage of the asylum process, from arrival in the UK through to removal to their country of origin, and their special needs and rights recognised.

In a statement, they expressed their disappointment that “no-one seems to be listening to what the children themselves have to say or to be considering the impact that their experiences before and since coming to this country may have had on them.”