A UK-wide approach to ending the detention of asylum seeking
children is needed, according to the Scottish children’s
commissioner Kathleen Marshall, writes Derren
Marshall, who last week marked her first anniversary in the
post, said she would make the issue one of the themes of her second
year in office and had discussed it recently with the new English
children’s commissioner Professor Al Aynsley-Green.
She said a joint approach was needed because even though
Dungavel detention centre had placed a 72-hour limit on detaining
children, there was nothing stopping them being transferred to
English detention centres once this had elapsed.
“My stance is that while these children are here they are
entitled to have their human rights respected. We need a united
approach to ending this – which was one of the
recommendations of [February’s] Save the Children report [on
child detention] – and I’m very keen to pursue
this,” Marshall added.
Other issues she wants to address include the way children of
failed asylum seekers are removed from their families, and ensuring
new Scottish laws to protect children from abuse do not scare
adults away from working and playing with them.