British government deports child refugees to war zones

This video from Canada says about itself:

Syrian Children Experience Snow

19 January 2016

Snow is a new experience but fun in any language looks the same.

Unfortunately, not all refugee children have the luck of the children in this video (and if the previous Stephen Harper government in Canada would not have been defeated by the voters, then the children in the video might never have seen snow either.)

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Refugee crisis: Thousands of child asylum seekers deported back to war zones, Home Office admits

Exclusive: Hundreds sent back from UK to countries where Isis and Taliban are rampant

Maeve McClenaghan

Tuesday 9 February 2016 21:44 BST

Thousands of young people who sought refuge in Britain as unaccompanied child asylum-seekers have been deported to repressive regimes and countries partly controlled by Isis and the Taliban, the Home Office has admitted. Over the past nine years 2,748 young people – many of whom had spent formative years in the UK, forging friendships and going to school – have been returned to countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

The figures were finally published by the Home Office minister James Brokenshire this week. Previous Home Office figures significantly understated the scale of the deportations.

The bulk of those deported – some 2,018 – were sent to Afghanistan, but around 60 young people have been deported to Iraq since 2014, the year Isis seized control of swathes of the country. The findings, which were triggered by questions from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Labour MP Louise Haigh, raise serious concerns about what happens to child asylum-seekers when they turn 18, and at a time when Britain is being urged to help thousands of orphaned child refugees from Syria.

Unaccompanied child asylum-seekers arriving in the UK are given temporary leave to remain. But this expires when they become adults, at which point many are sent back to their home country – even if they have taken GCSEs and A-levels, integrated into British society and lost touch with their homeland. They often struggle to start new lives, because their Westernised mannerisms mean they are regarded with suspicion.

Ms Haigh said: “These shocking figures reveal the shameful reality behind our asylum system.

“Children who flee countries ravaged by war in the most appalling of circumstances are granted safe haven and build a life here in the UK, but at the age of 18 can be forced on to a flight and back to a dangerous country they have no links to and barely any memory of.

“With many more vulnerable young children due to arrive in the UK over the next five years the Government needs to answer serious questions and provide a cast-iron guarantee that vulnerable young people will not be sent back to war zones.”

She now plans to bring a parliamentary debate on the issue, while the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is to chair an emergency cross-party summit on 10 February to explore how Britain can support future intakes of child refugees.

Mr Farron said: “It is a sad state of affairs that the Government is stripping the protective blanket of safety we have offered these children on their 18th birthday. Many will have integrated into their communities.”

As he released the figures, Mr Brokenshire was forced to apologise for previously providing the Commons with inaccurate numbers in November that said just 1,040 former child refugees had been returned to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya since 2007. He blamed the inaccurate data on “an error during the extraction process”.

Ms Haigh said: “Ministers have been basing their confident assurances on protecting these extremely vulnerable young people on a calamitous guesstimate.”

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism explored the cases of several Afghan teenagers last year as they battled deportation orders. Some who were returned claimed they had been left homeless, chased by the Taliban, kidnapped, ransomed and beaten.

The latest Home Office figures show that in 2015, 57 former child refugees were sent back to Afghanistan, where the Taliban still controls many districts. Removals to the country have now been temporarily halted as lawyers argue that the security situation is so unsafe that no one should be returned.

However, earlier this month lawyers for the Home Office argued in a Court of Appeal case that removals should continue. The judgment is expected imminently. The latest figures also show 657 former child refugees have been returned to Iraq since 2007, including 22 last year and 38 in 2014 when Isis began to take territory in the region.

The Foreign Office advises against “all but essential travel” to half of Iraq, and against any travel to the north-western areas. …

Explainer: Child asylum claims

Children can apply for asylum when they first arrive in the UK, but the likelihood of getting refugee status at this point is low, and even less likely for Afghan or Iraqi children.

The UK Government does not generally deport unaccompanied children – so instead they are given temporary leave to remain, which lasts until they turn 17-and-a-half.

At this point, teenagers must apply to extend their leave. But the BIJ’s analysis of appeals from Afghan teenagers found just one in five was granted asylum at this point. Thousands of teenagers are deported after years living in the UK.

Refugee crisis: Welfare cuts and anti-migration policies ‘will not stop’ asylum seekers coming to Europe – report. New laws might change the countries where refugees end up but they will not stop them arriving, a report found: here.

20 thoughts on “British government deports child refugees to war zones

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  4. Thursday 25th February 2016

    posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

    Medical report wins 92-year-old brief reprieve

    A 92-YEAR-OLD widow was left feeling she would be “better off dead” after the Home Office callously ordered her deportation to South Africa, medical evidence revealed yesterday.

    Myrtle Cothill’s “removal” was set to take place this week, but new medical reports proving her frailty have won the grandmother a brief reprieve.

    As previously reported by the Star, Ms Cothill has lived with her British daughter Mary Wills since 2014 and has no-one left to take care of her in South Africa.

    But the Home Office showed no compassion when her six-month visitor’s visa expired, ordering that she must return to Johannesburg to renew it.

    Senior psychiatrist Dr Benjamin Robinson, of Maudsley Hospital in South London, has now diagnosed her with clinical depression and severe anxiety linked to the threat of deportation.

    He noted that Ms Cothill’s condition was so bad, she “has begun to think she would be better off dead, but has not made plans to kill herself because she is a religious person and this would go against God’s will.”

    Dr Robinson also added that her removal would put her life at risk, with the the widow’s health expected to deteriorate rapidly in the three months following deportation.

    “Ms Cothill’s mental state would rapidly decline, and this would be irreversible due to the relative ineffectiveness of anti-depressants in those severely depressed in her age group and due to the causes of her depression,” the psychiatrist explained.

    “As a result, her self-care would continue to decline, including loss of appetite, loss of food intake and further weight loss, and she would be very likely to die more quickly as a result.”

    Prime Minister David Cameron’s government changed immigration laws back in 2012, scrapping rules that allowed parents and grandparents over the age of 65 to join their families in Britain as elderly dependants.

    Ms Cothill’s barrister Jan Doerfel argued that her removal would not only breach European human rights law but also raised the question of possible “inhuman and degrading treatment.”

    If her new appeal is declined and her application for leave to remain refused, Ms Cothill will again face deportation.

    Her case has provoked a storm of public protest, with Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and TV presenter Piers Morgan among those condemning the Home Office’s stance.


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