Date Tuesday 5 June 2007
Asylum removals breach Scottish law - UNISON
UNISON, Scotland's public service union, today (Tuesday), said
that the removal and deportation process that the immigration service
use to remove failed asylum seekers - the so-called 'dawn raids'
- breach the rights of children laid down by the Children (Scotland)
The union is giving evidence to the Independent Asylum Commission's
Public Hearing in Glasgow today. In addition the union called for
the protocol that it had argued for, and that would allow a 'lead
professional' to assess the position of the child with reference
to schooling and health, to be implemented as soon as possible.
Kate Ramsden, from UNISON's Scottish Social Work Issues Group,
who gave evidence said "We have heard of situations where children
have been awakened from their beds; where children have witnessed
their parents being removed in handcuffs; and where very young children
have been separated from their parents during the removals process,
creating great distress to the child and the parent.
"In no other circumstances would it be acceptable for the state
to treat children in this way. No other Scottish child would be
subjected to such treatment. Indeed, in all other cases the primary
focus would be on the care and protection of such vulnerable children.
It is only immigration and asylum legislation that allows these
children to be treated in a way that does not recognise their welfare
or their rights."
John Stevenson, UNISON's Scottish Communications Chair said "Whilst
UNISON members will not collude with a deportation process that
is inhumane, we can and should be providing a service to asylum
seeker families. In particular we need to put further pressure on
the Home Office to implement the decision they signed up to last
year - to allow a lead professional to be attached to asylum seeker
families where children are involved. These children have already
suffered very damaging experiences and may already be severely psychologically
scarred. They certainly do not need the additional trauma of dawn
raids and detention."
The union will continue to campaign to ensure that the rights of
children and asylum seekers are defended and that the myths perpetrated
about immigrants are challenged.
[Note for Editors - the full evidence from UNISON to the IAC is
available on the UNISONScotland website at
For Further Information Please Contact: Kate Ramsden (Social
Work Issues Group) 07767 027 722(m) John Stevenson (Chair - Scottish
Communication Cttee) 07876 795 018 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)