An article in the British Medical Journal this week (04 February) by Dr Mina Fazel, lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oxford University, points out the psychological damage that can be done to asylum seekers who are detained once they have arrived in Britain.
Commenting on the fact that Australia, who have been at the forefront of detaining refugees, have abolished their policy of mandatory detention on the basis that it has failed, the author expresses concern over Britain’s policy of expanding detention centres.
Responding to the article, Tim Finch, Director of Communications at The Refugee Council says:
“This article, from a medical point of view, highlights the major psychological damage that can be done to asylum seekers who are held in detention. Many of these people would already have suffered terribly before arriving in this country, and the policy of detention has been shown to lead to suicide, riots and public mutilation.
“Surely it is now time for the British government to stop locking up innocent people, and to find a way of helping people who come here for sanctuary to integrate into the community.”
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See the BMJ’s full editorial: Detention of refugees
This article has kindly been made available by the BMJ. Editorials are normally subscription only.
News story: Shock as another detained asylum seeker takes his own life (27 Jan 2006)
Report: Children’s Commissioner report on Yarl’s Wood finds significant shortcomings (21 Dec 2005)