The child refugees being unlawfully detained by the Home Office
Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees |
Published: 23/06/2016 |
Anyone who's ever worked in a pub knows it can be pretty impossible to always guess someone's age correctly just by looking at them. But that's exactly what the Home Office has been trying to do to unaccompanied child refugees and the consequences have been calamitous. (Judith Dennis Politics.co.uk)
When a child turns up in Britain by themselves and claims asylum they've undoubtedly already suffered a lot. At the Refugee Council, some of the children we work with tell us that they've witnessed the death of their mum or their dad. Sometimes it's both. They've usually escaped their country using the services of smugglers and face beatings, rape, detention and death on their perilous journey to safety.
Very few unaccompanied children make it as far as Britain in their search for a safe place. We received just three per cent of asylum claims made by lone children across Europe last year.
You might think our government would be able and willing to look after such a small group of such vulnerable children properly. Think again. The very authorities who are tasked with protecting child refugees here in Britain have instead been jeopardising their safety.
When an unaccompanied child arrives in Britain, they often don't have any easy way of proving their age. Most countries that refugees come from don't register births in the same way we do, although some will have documents that can help provide information about their age.
Even if refugees do have documents with them, they may not actually belong to them and may instead have been bought from or given to them by a smuggler. This is a reality acknowledged by international refugee law. After all, it’s pretty hard to persuade a regime you're escaping from to give you a passport and an exit visa. Any documents lone child refugees have used to travel with are likely to have an adult's date of birth because children would not be allowed to travel alone.
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