In response to Amnesty International UK report on detention of asylum seekers published today, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We warmly welcome this vital and timely report. As the government plans to expand the use of detention in the asylum process, this report highlights the dangers inherent in this approach.
“The evidence is stark – people are being detained arbitrarily, without proper consideration of whether it is appropriate or indeed necessary to do so. This includes pregnant women and families with children, torture victims and other extremely vulnerable individuals.
“Many refugees come to the UK having been imprisoned in their home countries. It is enormously damaging for them to then be locked up here in the UK, the country they believed would offer them safety.
“Today marks the beginning of Refugee Week, when we celebrate the positive contribution refugees make to the UK and also reflect on why people seek sanctuary here. It can’t be right to lock people up simply because they have asked for safety here – seeking asylum is not a crime.
“If the concern is to maintain contact with people during their asylum claim there are perfectly straightforward ways of doing this through reporting and similar requirements without resorting to the arbitrary and unlawful use of detention.
“Nobody should be detained unless there is substantial evidence to prove it is absolutely necessary. There should be a maximum time limit for detention, the ability to challenge the decision to detain, and children should never be detained.”
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