Concerns from children’s refugees organisations and charities are escalating over children being wrongly aged assessed as adults by the Home Office. This follows the news that three children wrongly judged as adults are detained in an offshoring programme.
As of this morning, the three children that were detained have been released as they were wrongfully being classified as adults and were being prepared for the Offshoring programme to Rwanda.
Benny Hunter, project coordinator of the Da’aro Youth Project, said they were ‘distrubed’ by the news of the unaccompanied children being detained and threatened with deportation. Hunter was very concerned with how vulnerable the children would be after being separated and that their treatment is ‘unacceptable’.
However, rumours are circulating that three more children have been wrongfully classified and are detained and being prepared to be relocated to Rwanda.
A letter was written by members of the Refugee and Migrant Children’s Consortium which includes Children’s Society, Refugee Council and ECPAT is being sent to the home secretary, Priti Patel.
The letter said that there was a grave concern over the unaccompanied children and that damages to their safety and wellbeing would be irreparable due to the lack of safeguards for children being treated as adults.
Consortium members disclosed that the Home Office treats children as young as 14 as adults. The Helen Bamber foundation gathered data from 55 local authorities and showed that at least 450 young people were sent to child services only after being sent to local adult accommodation or detention.
Many young refugees not aware of the decision immgration officials make due to their age. Young refugees are given little support and do not know how to or have the confidence to challenge an incorrect assessment.
Children who are wrongfully processed could be put at intense risk of harm and their welfare is put in jeopardy as they are suddenly in an unknown country 4,000 miles away. Which directly goes against the Home Offices promise to protect the safety and welfare of children.
Enver Solomon, CEO of The Refugee Council said: “We know from our work directly with young people this is having [an effect] on their anxiety and mental health, with distressing reports of self-harming.”
Overall, a lot of the charities and organisations that want drastic changes need to be made to the processing of young refugees so that they are treated as children and feel safe.
Image Credit: CBC
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