New centres ‘to detain child asylum seekers’ and families

Refugee & Iron Wire Fenceoriginally by: The Independent
4th February 2011

The Coalition is accused of watering down its promise to end the detention of child asylum seekers by setting up new centres to detain families refusing to leave the UK. The new “pre-departure accommodation facilities” will be run under a more lax system than the current imprisonment of failed asylum seekers and their offspring.

But the families will still be kept in “secure” units behind high fences for up to a week, reigniting concern over the Coalition’s flagship policy of ending child detention, announced by Nick Clegg in a fanfare of publicity last year.

Campaigners have long warned over the physical and mental impact of detention on children, 1,000 of whom were being held in British centres at the height of the practice in 2009.

One new secure unit will be built in West Sussex, requiring the eviction of a school for youngsters with behavioural and learning difficulties, The Independent understands.

The closure of Crawley Forest School, which is run by a subsidiary of Arora Management Services. a company owned by multi-millionaire hotelier Surinder Arora, will mark the next step in the Government’s attempts to introduce what it describes as a more “compassionate” approach to child asylum seekers and end the practice by May – the anniversary of the Coalition agreement.

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