Child detentions ‘must be reviewed’


Liberal Democrat MSP Robert Brown last week urged the Home Office
to “review its policy” on detaining the children of asylum seekers,
backing Community Care’s campaign aim to stop this practice.

“It is entirely unacceptable in a civilised western country for
children to be detained in this way,” the MSP for Glasgow Region
said in a letter to David Blunkett about the detention of children
at the Dungavel centre in Lanarkshire.

“They have neither committed any offence nor are themselves
responsible for their situation. I believe the situation is likely
to be contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child,” he added.

Brown conceded that when the policy was devised, it was probably
envisaged that asylum seekers would be detained for a few weeks
prior to deportation. But one family in Dungavel has been there for
more than 11 months, a situation which Brown described as “highly

Brown, who is the party spokesperson on education and convener of
the Scottish parliament’s education committee, said that while
educational provision was evident within the institution and staff
were doing their best, “it does not get over the fact that children
of all ages are isolated in a locked environment, deprived of
contact with other children of their own age”.

The MSP also recently met with Scottish education minister Peter
Peacock to discuss the plight of children held at Dungavel.

“As far as children are concerned, I do hope they will consider
letting children go to normal schools in the community,” Brown

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