Imprisoning asylum families

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Commenting on children's charity Barnardo's decision to run welfare services at the government's proposed family removal centre for refused asylum seekers, Ekklesia associate Vaughan Jones said:

"There will be considerable disappointment that Barnardo’s has lent its distinguished name and reputation to this highly unsatisfactory replacement to the appalling practice of detaining children.

"The move toward prison by another name has not been accepted as a proper solution by those who have the best interests of children at heart. Barnardo’s seem to have agreed to be part of the imprisonment itself and will inevitably be identified as part of the system rather than advocates for children in desperate circumstances.

"As things stand with displaced communities, the new arrangements lack credibility among refugee and migrant civil society and we can only hope that the pressure remains especially upon the Liberal Democrats. They gained respect for their enlightened view but have not delivered on this fundamental issue of the human rights of a child.

"We are being let down by an organisation which can be justly proud of the work it has undertaken with asylum seeking children in the past."

The Rev Vaughan Jones is a United Reformed Church minister, the CEO of multi-agency NGO Praxis, an associate of the beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia, and a former employee of Barnado's.