UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: 28 September 2006

UNISON calls for Executive to demand Home Office keep their word on asylum seekers children

UNISON - the union that represents social work staff - today reacted angrily to the continued failure of the Home Office to implement promised practices, and accept the need for a lead professional to be appointed for each child; enhanced disclosure checks for all immigration staff contacting children; and for independent inspection of the removals process.

These were not adhered to in the most recent 'dawn raid' on asylum seekers in Glasgow. Stephen Smellie, Chair of UNISONScotland's Social Work Issues Group said: "The Immigration Minister announced these steps forward in protecting vulnerable asylum seeker children back in March. This followed meetings with of the Scottish Executive by UNISON about a role for social work professionals and pressure by them on the Home Office.

"Our members working with children of asylum seekers know how essential these steps are to ensure that the law is being adhered to, and that the welfare of these children is paramount. We have had considerable positive reaction from the Government until now, and we are deeply concerned that this appears to be an attempt to undermine these steps.

"We call on the Immigration Minister to keep his word, and call on the Scottish Executive to demand that the Home Office abide by the law and their promises when dealing with children in Scotland."

Children living in Scotland are all covered by the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, which operates on the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - the welfare of the child must be paramount and the child's views should be taken into account in all matters affecting him or her. This is however compromised by asylum and immigration legislation.

UNISON is soon to issue advice to members on how best to provide an assessment to asylum seekers and their children. The union is also campaigning for an amnesty for asylum seekers and for the UK government to give children their full rights under the UN Convention.

Stephen said "We condemn the continued use of dawn raids and the general treatment of asylum seekers and their children. The role of social workers is to provide an assessment of the needs of a family, not to humanise the inhumane actions of the Home Office in relation to dawn raids."


For Further Information Please Contact: Stephen Smellie (Chair - Social Work issues group) 07740 096 864(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)