16 December 2010
The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Woolwich, Bishop
elect of Southwark and Bishop for Urban Life and Faith said:
"We welcome the Deputy Prime Minister's statement this morning
announcing the ending of the detention of children for immigration
purposes. As the DPM acknowledges the detention of families
at Yarl's Wood has been a shameful practice. We have been acutely
aware of the impact of removal and detention on those who
experience it as well as those left behind, in our schools,
communities and congregations.
"The value and potential of many children has been denied
through the procedures of taking families in dawn raids and
detaining them in removal centres. The children of asylum seekers
are a vulnerable group, and must not be made more so by procedures
which have no regard for their mental health and wellbeing.
"We hope that those who have been traumatized by the experience
of detention will be supported and monitored in the years to come.
We trust that the temporary facilities at Tinsley House will be
scrutinised by independent monitors so they do not become an
extension of the Yarl's Wood regime.
"The use of an independent family review panel for resolving
cases is to be welcomed. I hope that we will see similar panels
being used elsewhere in the asylum system.
"The treatment of families in all stages of the asylum process
remains a concern. Good asylum policy is best served by the
quality of initial decisions not by appeals and the protracted
procedures that can lead to forced removals. We call on HMG to
guarantee that good decisions are made through ensuring the quality
and fairness of the decision making, and access to support and
legal aid for those making applications.
"We pay tribute to the many groups who have campaigned against
this unacceptable practice - particularly The Children's Society,
End Child Detention. Barnardos, the Diana Fund and Citizens for
Sanctuary. We also acknowledge the significant leadership in this
offered by the former Children's Commissioner Sir Al