Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Eight Days to Take Action on Dungavel Child Detainees #LibConWin

A week may be a long time in politics but surely eight days into an new Government which only say for the first time yesterday and hasn't even been sworn in yet must be pretty instantaneous.

Instead of being held behind the prison fencing at Dungavel but moved to Yarls Wood, Bedfordshire with specialist family and child facilities and support services as an interim measure before totally removing from detention only eight days into a new government. As Damian Green the immigration minister said:

"This is something which many groups in Scotland have been calling for, and we are now delivering this positive outcome.

"We are committed to ending the detention of all children for immigration purposes. I hope that we can have plans agreed within the next few months."

You would have thought this might have been met as being a fast moving step to improve things before getting right of the draconian measure altogether. Not so the SNP who are still attempting to point score rather than offering alternatives locally and aiding the effort as I asked yesterday. Indeed Christine McKelvie is already saying:

"The Lib Dems claims on asylum and detention have been badly exposed and the Conservative’s chaotic Home Office appears once again to be unfit for purpose."

Hang on we're only allowed eight days to announce, come up with a solution and act upon it? Does that seem fair?

Nobody has said it is the final solution, merely that it is a better one than is currently available.Anne 'Indygal' McLaughlin MSP is also getting in on the act of jumping the gun and leaping on the condemnation bandwagon:

"By removing children immediately to Yarls Wood they are being taken away from the support networks and services they have built up in Scotland.

"There must be guarantees from the new Government that children are only being detained as an absolute last resort and that no one will lose access to the law, or the ability to challenge the Home Office’s decision as a result of this move."

Look at the statement Anne! Look at the commitment! Look at the time scale. We're are looking at doing away with detention of children within months. As Green also said:

"I have already announced the launch of a comprehensive review of alternatives to child detention, including opening a dialogue with relevant stakeholders, organisations and experts.

"This work has now started, because it is in all our interests, including those children currently in detention, to do it quickly, but to also do it well and safely."

It will be done. It will be done well. It will be done safely for all the children involved.

One does have to ask though if this step has been taken in 8 days, with another step to be taken in months, just what the SNP government have been doing to try and get the children held in detention in Scotland released or into better surroundings that Dungavel in the THREE years that they have been in charge.

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