Welfare of asylum children must be paramount - UNISON
UNISON has welcomed Immigration Minister Tony McNulty's
announcement (see below) that
children of asylum seekers will have a named professional
to safeguard their interests, and that staff dealing with
children will have to have background checks.
"As the union representing Scotland's social work staff,
we welcome the Scottish Executive's inervention and are
glad they listened to our argument that the children of
asylum seekers should have the same rights as any other
child under Scottish law. That means their welfare must
be paramount", said Kate Ramsden from UNISON's Scottish
Social Work Issues Group.
"This is only one step but many of the changes will ensure
that at least children's voices are heard and we hope
that will lead to their needs being properly addressed.
Our members were horrified at the harm being caused to
children by 'dawn raids'.
"But children will still be deported with all the harm
that may cause. The problem will only be solved when government
accepts that these children enrich our society. We are
calling again for an amnesty for asylum seekers so that
children who have begun to rebuild their lives in Scotland
can do that in peace and security".
Members of the Social Work Issues Group had meetings
with the Scottish Executive, the latest on 23 March 2006
(see Briefing 1 for more details).
The Scottish Exec has confirmed what has been agreed
between them and Tony McNulty (UK Immigration Minister)
and what they indicated at our meeting with them on 23rd:-
1. Lead professional to be appointed for each child and
early involvement for asylum seeker children in line with
Getting It Right for Every Child
2. Review of the removals process (eventually UK wide)
3. Enhanced disclosure checks for all immigration staff
4. Independent inspection of services to children (prob
5. Independent inspection of removals process itself
for whole UK
6. Improve communications with the HO and an immigration
director at senior officer level for Scotland.
This reflects most of the issues the SWIG raised. However
the root issue is still there and we need to continue
to work together on the initiatives we discussed. UNISON
will still be calling for an amnesty for asylum seekers
as well as continuing to oppose deportations in general.