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Migrant children 'are some of the most vulnerable'

Unaccompanied migrant children in the asylum and immigration processes are some of the most vulnerable young people in the United Kingdom.

They have often fled conflict situations abroad or have been victims of abuse and exploitation, including those who arrive as victims of trafficking.

It is crucial that they are supported effectively. We do not find it satisfactory that immigration concerns are too often given priority when dealing with such children, in doing so the UK is falling short of the obligations it owes to such children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

– Joint Committee on Human Rights chairman Dr Hywel Francis MP

Children seeking safety in UK 'face culture of disbelief'

A group of MP and peers have said Britain is falling short of obligations set out under international law for dealing with migrant children.

According to a report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights:

  • In 2012, around 1,200 such children sought asylum in the UK, and around 2,150 unaccompanied migrant children were being cared for by local authorities.
  • Children who had often faced traumatic journeys faced intensive interviews on arrival.
  • There was also evidence of children being placed in inappropriate accommodation without suitably trained staff
  • A lack of support was "starkly" demonstrated by the "culture of disbelief" about the age of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
  • It found that the age of unaccompanied migrant children is too often disputed, putting their welfare and best interests at risk.
  • MPs also said decisions on children's futures are too often delayed until they approach adulthood, leaving children uncertain about what their futures will hold.


Britain 'is failing unaccompanied migrant children'

Britain is failing to dealing with migrant children who arrive in the country without parents or relatives, a group of parliamentarians has warned.

The UK is failing migrant children, MPs have said. Credit: PA

Immigration concerns are too often given priority over the protection of migrant children, including abuse victims and those who have fled conflict zones, MPs say.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights said the UK is as a result failing to meet the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty bound by international law.

It also calls on the Government not to return any children to Afghanistan or Iraq while conflict and humanitarian concerns persist.

PM 'prepared to consider all options' to deport Qatada

Asked if the option of temporary withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights was currently under consideration, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said:

As the Home Secretary was setting out, there are two things that the Government is very clearly and actively taking forward. There is the treaty-related process and there is the seeking of permission to appeal from the Supreme Court.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to consider all options should that be necessary? Absolutely, yes... This is a very dangerous individual. I think people would rightly expect that, should it be necessary, consideration is given to all options.

The Government believes the treaty will deliver the protections required by Siac (the Special Immigration Appeals Commission) to secure Qatada's deportation.


Labour welcomes Government moves over Qatada

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said she welcomes the work the Home Secretary is continuing to do to get Abu Qatada deported and the further assurances sought from Jordan.

However, she added: "She will know that the history of Home Office problems in this area mean that serious questions remain.

Yvette Cooper cautiously welcomed the new treaty between the UK and Jordan.

"The question for the house and the Court will be whether it meets the specific test that the court has set".

"We wish her well with this mutual legal assistance treaty and we hope that it will work.

Mrs Cooper also suggested a debate and vote should be held to "demonstrate the strength of support there is across this house".

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