Duncan Lewis

Shepherds Bush Office

provide over 3000 matter starts in

Immigrating , Family and Housing

A report on asylum seeking children and families found the support system too inhumane

Date: (30 January 2013)    |    

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A panel headed by Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather held an investigation on homeless refugees and their plight and Ms Teather said that the members of the panel were left ashamed and appalled by the testimony of asylum seekers, and that their treatment in the UK was on the edge of being described inhumane.
The Parliamentary report has found that child asylum seekers were living in destitution in Britain and their mothers being forced into prostitution because of failure of the support system.
While the applications are being processed by the government the applicants are left unsupported during the waiting period before their asylum status is known the inquiry found.
Parents who fled persecution in their homelands have been found to be starving to compensate feeding their children, the panel heard.
Their position was so pathetic that they had to leave their children and their families with no money to catch a bus, make a phone call, or buy basic goods seems senseless Ms Teather said.
The Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People, heard 200 refugees, witnesses and organisations, has concluded that the lack of support system for families applying for refugee status may be leading to greater infant mortality and maternal deaths during pregnancy.
One such organisation Refugee Action’ said it had supported clients who were engaged in begging, transactional relationships and prostitution in order to access cash and alleviate poverty.
The British Red Cross, which assists 10,000 destitute refugees and asylum seekers, said 20% of those were families with small children.
The Scottish Refugee Council reported that during one week in March last year 148 asylum seekers were destitute in Glasgow alone, including 11 families with 21 children, five pregnant women and two new mothers.
One asylum seeking mother told the panel that she could buy one meal which she would share with her son and said that her son was her priority and she would take his nutritional needs prior to her own and occasionally starving herself too.
There were different stories to be told but all of them were pointing towards the failure of the current asylum support system.
There are an estimated 10,000 children living on asylum support in the UK including those who are with refused asylum seeking adults. These sections live in designated accommodation and instead of cash receive money on Azure cards for buying essential items.
The inquiry called into question whether the Home Secretary was meeting her duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children subject to immigration control, under the UN Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC).
A UK Border Agency spokesperson said that UK asylum support system was good and met the needs of asylum seekers and the welfare of children and families was taken extremely seriously. Those who comply with the law and the decisions of the courts never faced destitution.