Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nick Clegg ends child detention

It's fair to say that we Liberal Democrats have had some tough times over the past few weeks, but today's announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that child detention for immigration purposes will end shows that we are doing good in government.

Richard Grayson wrote in the Guardian this week about how the party should be pursuing a policy agenda with the Labour Party because for some reason they're better than the Tories. So much better that they detained 1000 innocent children in horrible places like the notorious Yarls Wood in Bedfordshire. Look what the Labour Government did to young Janipher Maseko as she told the Guardian 3 years ago:

The police called an ambulance and they took my children away to Brighton hospital. I was taken to a local police station. My breasts were engorged because I had just had a baby and was feeding. A doctor saw me and asked if I wanted a breast pump, but I never got one.
I was still bleeding from the birth. My clothes were filthy. For three days, I was given no shower, no clean clothes. I was just given food three times a day. Every so often, a police officer would slide open the hatch and say, "Are you OK?" That's all.
I was transferred to Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire. I arrived at midnight. I told them I had just had a baby and had been separated from my kids, but they just gave me a paracetamol. I was distraught. My children weren't with me. I was crying all the time. I couldn't eat. They put me on antidepressants.
During the two weeks I was there, no one organised for me to see my kids or told me how they were. Whenever I asked one of the officers, "Please, I have to see my kids. I am breastfeeding. I am in pain," all they said was, "Have a paracetamol." I was told to take drugs to dry my milk. But I wanted Colin back, I wanted to breastfeed because I knew it was best for him.
Worse, there came a time when she thought she was going to be sent back to Uganda without her children.
"Good news, Janipher. We have booked you a flight back to Uganda." There was only my name on the notice of removal directions. I was distraught at the thought of being deported without my children. I know of at least one woman who is now back in Uganda while her children are still in foster care in this country.
To treat a young girl and her two babies with such brutality and inhumanity is wicked and must never happen again. Depriving a mother of her children and making her worry that she'll never see them again is no less than torture. Nick Clegg has ensured that these sorts of distressing things are history.

Don't think for a minute that the Tories in Government would ever have done this on their own - and we know Labour didn't. 

Nick Clegg, announcing the immediate closure of the Family Unit at Yarl's Wood, said:

Today the Coalition Government is setting out, for the first time, how we are ending the detention of children for immigration purposes in the UK.
“How we are ending the shameful practice that last year alone saw over 1000 children – 1000 innocent children - imprisoned.
“Today’s announcement marks a big culture shift within our immigration system.
One that puts our values – the protection of children – above paranoia over our borders.
“One that prioritises doing the right thing over looking and sounding tough.

This is genuinely a big Liberal Democrat win for the party to celebrate, but more importantly it's also great news for children and anyone interested in their welfare.

1 comment:

Left Lib said...

I don't agree with what Richard Grayson is doing, but I do think we have to recognise that Labour have changed since the last general election.
That said, I can't find where any of them have commented on this story.


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