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Made in Britain: Three years old, imprisoned as an enemy and deliberately damaged

October 13, 2009

Update:  Looks like deportations to Baghdad have resumed.  Musta missed the news on how Iraq was now safe, following our destruction, and the news that the green zone has been dismantled

In our present climate of financial disaster, caused by politicians and the banking systems, we are encouraged to see people in need as scroungers.  To see people in need as disgusting and something the UK does not wish to cater for.  It is prudent for politicians to divide those who pay taxes (the working class rather than those who have the means to pay and don’t) in order to distract us from the increased reality they provide for us, that if we start life with very little then we will finish life with very little, and also finish life earlier.   A favourite subject of divide and rule is housing.  It is a basic fact that those who can afford to pay for housing, but don’t – MP’s – have deliberately and effectively waged a campaign to eliminate social housing as there is no profit in it.  Hatred towards immigrants is often linked to housing provision.  It doesn’t matter that these immigrants are more often than not, human beings fleeing from torture, from war, from economic disaster.

Today’s papers bring us news on yet another report released regarding  how we treat one category of those horrible scroungers, also known as immigrants and asylum seekers but never as people or human beings.  Today we are shown that UK immigration policies damage human beings – in this case they damage children:

Children forcibly held in a British immigration detention centre have experienced serious psychological and physical health problems, a medical report claims today.

this newspaper report also states:

Eleven children aged between three and 11 years had developed symptoms of depression and anxiety since being detained … The doctors, who examined children at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, said at least 12 had been separated at some point from their main carer, including a 20-month-old breast-fed baby who was separated from her mother for three weeks.

eliciting the predictable response from a commenter:

It’s sad to know that immigrant families have to be detained like this when they are not supposed to be in the UK. As a family man myself I cannot think of a more distressing situation. However, we cannot let them back in to UK society because they don’t belong here.

What this news report doesn’t actually report is important.   The mental and physical health difficulties of children held within a British immigration detention centre:  A pilot study,  is summarised more fully by The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees and contains the background to the medical report reported on above.  The methodology of this medical report was:

A total of 24 detained children (aged 3 months to 17 years) were assessed with their parents or carer after being referred by Bail for Immigration Detainees, an independent legal charity, between February and August 2006.  Thirteen were seen by a pediatrician alone, 4 by a psychologist alone, and 7 by both professions using semi-structured clinical interviews.  The psychologist also used standardised self-report questionnaires to measure psychopathology.

And the results show significant trauma caused by UK detention.  From the wording of the summary it seems that of the 24 children assessed, 11 were assessed psychologically and ALL 11 had been damaged from UK immigration policies:


Psychological Assessment Findings

Mental Health of Children

  • All 11 reported symptoms of depression and anxiety since being detained.
  • All 11 children presented as being disoriented, confused and frightened by the detention setting.
  • 8 out of 11 of the children (73%) had developed clinically significant emotional and behavioural problems.
  • Parents reported the emergence of conduct problems in 6 children who had previously been well behaved at home and in school.
  • One child also reported experiencing the re-emergence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms related to previous war experiences.
  • None had previously required support from a mental health professional.

Mental Health of Parents

  • All 9 of the parents reported severe psychological distress.
  • All 9 reported that they thought it would be better if they were dead. The majority (6 out of the 9 adults) had contemplated suicide, with two mothers actively suicidal and on suicide  watch.
  • 2 fathers and 1 mother reported that they were torture survivors; another 2 mothers stated that they had been victims of rape in their countries of origin.
  • 3 out of the 9 adults had previously been receiving psychiatric medication and counselling, which they reported had stopped abruptly upon detention.

Physical Health Findings

  • Most of the 20 children seen by a paediatrician complained of recent onset or exacerbation of physical symptoms, including abdominal pains, headache, cough, and vomiting.
  • 2 young children required hospital care including a 2 year old admitted with pneumonia and a 5 month old with vomiting, loose stool, and irritability.
  • 6 children had missed health appointments including follow up for spina bifida, follow up of antenatal renal tract dilatation and HIV and syphilis test follow-up.
  • One child needed review for clean intermittent catheterisation and had been unable to contact her specialist nurse adviser from the detention centre.

Preventative health and immunisation

  • Only 4 of the 20 children had evidence of age appropriate childhood immunisation in line with Communicable Disease Control advice.

Nutrition and Growth

  • Most parents seen by the paediatricians raised concerns about nutrition.
  • 8 children had lost weight since entering detention, including a two year old and a nine year old, both of whom had lost 10% of their body weight.
  • 3 children had regressed and refused to feed themselves or would only take milk.

Development and regression

  • Of the 8 children aged 1 – 4 years old seen by paediatrician and /or psychologist, all mothers raised concerns about their children’s development or behaviour.
  • 5 children had begun bed wetting and one of these children was also wetting and soiling herself in the daytime since being detained.
  • 4 children had regression of language since entering detention, including one child who had become selectively mute.

Child protection issues

  • A number of issues relating to child protection became apparent.
  • 2 children had been placed in detention under the care of an adult with whom they had never previously lived.
  • Of the children seen by a paediatrician, at least 12 had been separated from a main caregiver. One mother and her 20 month old breast feeding child were separated for three weeks during an outbreak of chicken pox.

Update:  I have just read another paper’s take on the press release regarding this medical report, and they eronously state “In the first study of its kind, a team of paediatricians and psychologists found 73% of children they examined had developed clinically significant emotional and behavioural problems since being detained. None had previously reported such problems.”  This is untrue – it may be the first UK study, but certainly not the first.  As for no previous complaints, I simply don’t believe it.

There are alternatives to detention in these camps which are proven to be damaging to the 2000 children who are detained in them every year, but of course, alternatives tried were carried out poorly by immigration services, wonder why…not!  The only actual alternative is to stop locking vulnerable human beings up in detention centres, and change the burden of proof and charge the immigration officials to prove that immigrants and asylum seekers are lying, instead of the other way round.  But this would mean immigration policies to include actually acting like a human being.  Where’s the profit in that?

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has written a summary regarding immigration detention facts and figures, including how many people do/do not abscond , and it does not tally with popular myth spread by MP’s – i.e. if scroungers aren’t locked up then they can’t be gotten rid of.

No Borders London staged protests in June following hunger strikes by detainees of Yarls Wood Detention Centre, and this speaker pretty much sums up how great Yarls Wood is:

Detention for children is summed up exactly, by the children it damages in these videos:

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