Editorial Comment: Save the Children is right to reject Reid

Home secretary John Reid, who has now clocked up more than 100 days in office, has certainly made his mark. And he shows no sign of relenting in his hard-line approach to just about every policy area he is responsible for.

Take asylum. It appears the Home Office is now considering forcibly returning unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to their country of origin. An official document says that removals may go ahead even if they are not in the best interests of the child as set out in UN policy (not to mention the Children Act) because immigration control is the primary consideration.

The government was even crass enough to try to involve Save the Children with returning children to Vietnam, where trafficking and child prostitution remain serious problems, but the organisation rightly would play no part in it.

It is hoped others will follow Save the Children’s lead and refuse to co-operate with this shameful policy which, with any luck, may eventually be ruled illegal. Dr Reid prides himself on his get tough, then get tougher image – but at what human cost? It almost makes you long for the return of David Blunkett – he seems like a softie in comparison.

Additional reading
Rise in Iranian minors seeking UK asylum
Activists predict more legal fights as unaccompanied minors face return

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