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8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I January 2010
Health professionals speak out
against detention of children
Every year hundreds of children in the As a civilised society, we cannot sit back
UK are detained in immigration centres and allow these practices to continue -
because their families face deportation, they are unethical and unacceptable. GPs
this policy is harmful and must change say work at the heart of their local communities
medical experts. and are well placed to work with families,
The Royal Colleges of Paediatrics, agencies and the government to come
GPs and Psychiatrists say other countries up with alternatives that will improve the
have found alternatives to detention and health and life chances of these children
want the British government to take a and young people.’
different approach to stop the physical and The Royal College of Nursing has also
psychological damage suffered by children. been highly critical of the treatment of child
Dr Rosalyn Proop, of the Royal College of detainees and has backed calls to change
Paediatrics and Child Health, said, ‘These the current policy.
children are among the most vulnerable David Wood, head of Criminality and
in our communities and detention causes Detention for the UK Border Agency,
unnecessary harm to their mental and says detaining families is always a last
physical health. The current situation is resort. ‘When we do have to detain
unacceptable and we urge the Government people, their wellbeing is a priority - Yarl’s
to adopt alternatives to detention without Wood is registered with the Care Quality
delay.’ Commission who regulate healthcare in
The average stay of children at Yarl’s the UK. We agree with the Royal Colleges
Wood, the UK’s largest immigration that families at Yarl’s Wood should get the
removal centre, is fifteen days but a third same level of care available on the NHS,
are detained for more than a month. and they do. Medical care includes sixteen
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the full-time nurses including a paediatric and
Royal College of General Practitioners says mental health nurse, full-time independent
this cannot continue. ‘Detaining children social workers, daily attendance by a GP,
for any length of time, often without proper child focussed counselling and attending
explanation, is a terrifying experience that midwives and dentist.’
can have lifelong consequences. As well That view is not shared by charities like
as the potential psychological impact, Medical Justice, set up in 2005 to expose
these children invariably experience poor and challenge medical abuse, it claims
physical health as they cannot access many detainees are denied treatment for
immunisation and preventative services. serious medical conditions.
Law reform plan after
arrest warrant for Israeli
The UK Government is “urgently” due to visit Britain after all. like leaders from other countries
considering reforms to the legal Livni has claimed the court was must be able to visit and have a
system after a British court issued “abused” by individuals who wanted proper dialogue with the British
an arrest warrant for Israeli politician to see her put on trial over last year’s Government.
Tzipi Livni, it was revealed. assault on Gaza. “The procedure by which arrest
Foreign Secretary David Miliband The hard-line Israeli prime minister warrants can be sought and issued
said it was important that senior Benjamin Netanyahu has branded without any prior knowledge or advice
figures from Israel could visit the UK the legal action “absurd”. by a prosecutor is an unusual feature
and have a “proper dialogue”. In a statement, Miliband said of the system in England and Wales.
The warrant against Livni was he was keen to “avoid this sort of “The Government is looking
apparently granted by a London court situation arising again”. urgently at ways in which the UK
over last weekend at the request of “Israel is a strategic partner and a system might be changed in order
Palestinian plaintiffs. close friend of the UK,” he said. to avoid this sort of situation arising
It was revoked when it emerged “We are determined to protect and again”, he concluded.
the former foreign minister was not develop these ties. Israeli leaders
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