Over the past year, you have all been working extremely hard to end the detention of children and families for immigration purposes. Many of you were with us at the historic event of May 3rd, when the party leaders pledged to us to end this cruel practice. The Coalition Government then announced its commitment to end the detention of children.
In July, Immigration Minister Damian Green MP confirmed their commitment to us, by stating that there would be no child in detention by Christmas.
Ending this practice not only needed a change in policy, but also a massive shift in culture. Something that needed time, and patience!
You will also be aware that back in August, CITIZENS UK established a Taskforce that would look at safe, sustainable and humane alternatives to Child Detention. Although originally set up to look at the most difficult of cases, those families who refused to comply, the Taskforce put forward recommendations for the whole ensured return route. Please click here to download a copy of the report.
Last week, the recommendations of the Taskforce were submitted to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.
The Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg was due at our South London CITIZENS Assembly on December 2nd at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Unfortunately, at the last minute he was called out of the Country. Luckily, he was able to send us a video message which stated that they would be making an announcement before Christmas as to how and when Child Detention would end for good. Please see here for the video message… http://www.citizensuk.org/2010/12/nick-cleggs-message-to-citizens-uk-on-ending-child-detention/
There was also massive recognition for CITIZEN UK and all those who had been involved in the Sanctuary Pledge. We were also blessed with the presence of Sarah Teather MP Minister for Children, who confirmed that there will be an announcement before Christmas.
Last Thursday’s Guardian carried an article which gives more background to the process: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/dec/01/nick-clegg-announce-timetable-ending-child-detentions
The next step is for the Deputy Prime Minister to announce how and when they will end Child Detention. We are expecting this to happen next week, and will keep you informed as to how and when.