In response to the Chief Inspector of UKBA’s report, Family Removals: A Thematic Inspection, published today (27 July) Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The findings of this report are hugely worrying, and we would urge the UK Border Agency to heed the Chief Inspector’s recommendations for improving the way it handles family cases.
“Given that the UKBA has a legal obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, it is disturbing that there is an apparent total lack of planning to ensure they are treated properly, including the arrangements for their detention and return. It is unacceptable that dawn raids to arrest families prior to removal are carried out without assessing whether this is an appropriate course of action, and it is no surprise to us that the experience is both distressing and harmful to the families involved.
“We are delighted the government has vowed to end child detention, and look forward to their announcements on this. But they must use this opportunity to ensure children and families are treated fairly and humanely throughout the asylum process. Families who do not have protection needs and so are not allowed to stay here must be given more support and information so that they can return to their countries voluntarily, rather than being forced.
“Many of these families have fled war and conflict and have committed no crime. The government must now guarantee that the wellbeing of those seeking safety here is at the heart of its policies on detention and removal.”