Along with other groups who have been calling for the end of detention for children through two campaigns “Outcry! – End Child Detention” and “End Child Detention Now” No Borders South Wales also feels it is long overdue to put an end to such a practice.

The damaging effects on physical and mental health were clearly outlined and backed by evidence from studies as detailed in the joint statement “Significant Harm” by the British Paediatric Mental Health Group (2009).

But although children are particularly vulnerable when detained, it must not be overlooked that all people detained are experiencing the same horrific conditions whatever their age.

The UK is unique in Europe for being one of the only countries which has no time limit for detention. The consequences of long-term indefinite detention have been known to result in self harm, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attempts of suicide.

The new Tory – Lib Dem government has promised to end child detention as part of their coalition agreement immigration policy. But it too early to celebrate this government pledge. What has not yet been discussed is how this move will be implemented, and how long it will take to release those children who are currently detained with their parents or guardians.

It seems highly possible that the UK Border Agency will separate children from other family members who will remain in detention and that there will be an increase in ‘fast track’ deportations. There are families in Cardiff and all over the UK who still currently face the threat of snatch squads in the night, armour clad border staff with handcuffs and an unmarked van, waiting to drive them to one of the UK’s 11 removal centres.

It is time to end the barbaric practice of detaining asylum seekers. Not just children but all people. Lets close their immigration prisons forever. For freedom of movement and an end to detention!

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