Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Office for Migration Policy, has joined religious leaders in calling for an end to the imprisonment of children, babies and young people in immigration removal centres.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the leaders urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to “bring Britain in line with other Commonwealth and EU countries, which provide less harmful community-based facilities for families awaiting a decision about their future.”
We are writing to express our grave concern at the findings of Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the Children’s Commissioner, on children detained at Yarl’s Wood (report, February 17). We call on the Government to bring an immediate end to the unnecessary and inhumane practice of imprisoning children, babies and young people in immigration removal centres.
We note that the Children’s Commissioner, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Children’s Society and many other bodies concerned with the wellbeing of children all support an end to child detention because of the appalling effects on children. These include insomnia, bed wetting, weight loss, speech regression, depression and self-harm.
Our faith calls us to look particularly to the needs of the most vulnerable in our community. We therefore urge the Prime Minister to bring Britain in line with other Commonwealth and EU countries, which provide less harmful community-based facilities for families awaiting a decision about their future.
The Rt Rev Patrick Lynch
Chairman, Office for Migration Policy, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
The Most Rev Barry Morgan
Archbishop of Wales
The Rt Rev John Packer
Bishop of Ripon and Leeds
Rev David Gamble
President of the Methodist Conference
The Rt Rev Bill Hewitt
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Rev Inderjit S. Bhogal
Former President of the Methodist Conference
General Director, Evangelical Alliance
Lt-Col Marion Drew
Secretary for Communications, The Salvation Army
Rev Jonathan Edwards
General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
Rev Peter Macdonald
Leader, The Iona Community
Rev John Marsh
Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Clerk, Meeting for Sufferings, The Religious Society of Friends
Moderator, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland