Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A Positive Outcome For Whom?

So the new Lib-Con coalition has announced an end to the detention of children in Scotland i.e. Dungavel. Good news one would have thought, but not if you've grown up in Scotland: your friends and family are there; your legal team are there, as is your legal aid provider (moving to England would entail a new application); it is nearly 300 miles to the south and a nine hour journey in the back of a minibus with a bunch of people in uniforms that often treat your with contempt, if they pay you any attention at all, to reach the nearest detention centre with family facilities. And to top it all, you are of course still in detention. Where's the "positive outcome"* in that for children in detention Damien Green?

It may have gotten you temporarily into the Scottish government's good books but that is of no comfort to people like Sehar Shebaz, who was detained on Monday with her 8 month old baby when she went to report on Monday. She had fled her violent husband in Pakistan to claim asylum in the UK, fearing for her life if she is returned to Pakistan (women who leave their husbands are under threat from his extended family and are often killed or maimed in acid attacks).

With the ending of the detention of children in Dungavel, she and her baby, like the other families detained there, were due to be moved to be moved to Yarl's Wood today. However, Ms Shebaz was refusing to cooperate with the move, claiming that her baby is too young to be forces to endure a nine hour journey in the back of a van. She herself is also ill, having been vomiting since the early hours of yesterday morning.

The response of the 'enlightened' UKBA regime? To threaten to remove her baby from her and transport them in separate vans anyway. So much for the new coalition's commitment to respecting human rights and reigning in the abuses perpetrated by the Big Brother state on people. Of course, they will claim that she is not a UK citizen but should that allow them to treat Sehar and her child any differently that they would expect them and their children?

* Damien Green - "This is something which many groups in Scotland have been calling for, and we are now delivering this positive outcome."

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