Thursday, 29 December 2011

Kids jailed. Santa locked out

SECURITY PERSONNEL STOP LUSH EASTBOURNE'S SANTA DELIVERING PRESENTS TO CHILDREN- new information reveals that mother and sick baby are currently locked up.
Santa found his way blocked by perimeter fences, locked doors and security guards 1. yesterday when he and three helpers attempted to deliver presents to children in the immigration detention facility at Pease Pottage, Crawley. 2.Staff and customers at the high street cosmetics store Lush, in Eastbourne, gathered donations of luxury soaps, chocolate and toys to be taken as presents to families being held at the 'Cedars pre- departure accommodation centre'.

Children are imprisoned at the Pease Pottage facility simply because of where their parents come from. Doctors have widely documented the trauma suffered to minors as a result of even brief periods of imprisonment. 3.

Nick Clegg has described child detention as a 'scandal' and a 'state sponsored cruelty'. Yet instead of keeping his promise 4. to shut down child detention centres the coalition opened the facility at Pease Pottage, outside Crawley, in August.

Alice from SOAS detainee support, who was one of the three trying to deliver the gifts, said-
“This is a classic bit of government spin. They make a prison look prettier and claim it isn't a prison. Border police are still breaking into people's houses in the small hours of the morning and dragging children from their beds. Children are still being held against their will for up to a week, and they're still being forced onto planes and sent back to situations that their parents have fled from in desperation. This is a scandal which the government promised it would end. We can't get these children out of there this winter, so we at least want to be able to send their neighbours' love in.”

Despite assurances on the UK border agency website. 5. that appointments can be made to visit those detained, for three days staff at the 'Cedars'facility refused to allow the arrangement of any appointments to visit any detainees in the foreseeable future, or give any reason for doing so. They even refused to come to the gate and receive the gifts to take them in.

Information received today from Medical Justice ( suggests that staff may have been particularly reticent because they'd received a new detainee that morning. A woman who was injured when police broke into her home at 6am to take her and her baby to Pease Pottage. The 14 month old is suffering from a chest infection and diarrhoea. The authorities refusal totell the mother it's weight suggests that it is under 11kg which would mean that it has been given inappropriate anti malarial jabs. Despite this oth mother and child are due to be deported tonight.

Details are still emerging, but this unusual and damning situation can only deepen concern about the ongoing detention of families.

Lush Local Campaigns co-ordinator Liz Snook said-

“All we're trying to do here is give some children some presents. We're prepared to go through whatever is demanded of us, but instead we've been met with rudeness and flat refusal. These levels of 'security' reveal the lie that child detention is over in the UK. 7. When ill babies no more than a year old are being subjected to terrifying raids and bundled onto planes we need to start asking more questions. We want the families held under this frightening system to know that we've not forgotten them.”

For more information about the child detention in Crawley please see

1. While at Cedars Families are under the control of G4S security guards. A recent Chief Inspector of Prisons report found that G4S escorts showed “a shamefully unprofessional and derogatory attitude”, and used unnecessary force and racist language.

2. Cedars, Brighton Road, Pease Pottage, Crawley, RH11 9AD

3. Medical evidence has demonstrated that even short periods of detention can cause long term damage to children. The Royal College of Psychiatrists issued this statement in relation to the practice—



6. The Freedom of Information request was carried out by the campaign group ‘No-Deportations’ and discovered that of the 11 children who entered Cedars pre-departure accommodation in September 2011: 3 children spent 1 day in detention, 2 spent 2 days, 2 spent 4 days, 3 spent 7 days, and the remaining child, having spent 4 days in detention was still detained as at 30 September 2011.

7. The coalition government announced the 'end' of detention.

8. Of the 10 children being detained in ‘Cedars’ who left in September 2011, 7 were removed and 3 were granted temporary admission or release.

This means that even by the Home Office’s own admission 30% of the children detained should never have been arrested in the first place—despite the fact that every family admitted to Pease Pottage was meant to have been vetted and approved as 100% deserving of removal by the Home Office’s so-called ‘Independent Family Returns Panel’.

9. All six children kept imprisoned for more than 72 hours would need to have had their detention personally approved by Immigration Minister, Damian Green, a man who rashly promised that he would dress up as Father Christmas if a single child was kept in detention last Christmas (one child actually was, but Green did not don his Santa suit)

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