An inhumane system, or “how to learn to love fish and chips”

A report headlined in the Independent (27/3/2008) states the obvious: that Britain’s policy towards asylum seekers is “inhumane” and “oppressive”. It states that it “falls seriously below the standards to be expected of a humane and civilised society”.
The report talks about “a culture of disbelief” where the odds are stacked against genuine claimants at the outset, lumped in with those who may not have a right to stay.
The inhumanity referred to here doesn’t begin and end with the asylum system. It has become embedded in many other areas of our existence. The prison system it is well known is a place where those who are unwell end up, a place where self-harm and suicide have become endemic.
The rot starts in schools, however, where young children are oppressed by an over-zealous system which “tests to destruction”. Primary aged children end up with stress and depression. Not the sign of a healthy society.


Al this is presided over by those proclaiming “Christian” and “British” values. Not sure how these might be interchangeable. Many Moslems are British, and felt to be so until they were told over and over that they are not. New Labour’s Liam Byrne lists “fish and chips” as a “British value” so we assume that terrorists et al don’t like them. The report states:
“Three areas of the system came under particular fire. The use of detention centres – especially to lock up children, pregnant women and torture victims – was condemned, as was the often brutal handling of removals, and the use of destitution as a tool to drive claimants out of the country.
Sir John Waite, co-chair of the commission said: ‘The overuse of detention, the scale of destitution and the severity of removals are all areas which need attention before the system can be described as fit for purpose’.
The commissioners found that locking up those seeking asylum was costly and often completely needless. ‘The detention of asylum-seekers is overused, oppressive and an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer,’ they said. The detention of children was in turn branded ‘wholly unjustified’.
Sir John called for ‘a thorough re-examination’ of the detention and bail system, which he said treated asylum-seekers like criminals. ‘The justification for such a system is the fear of absconding, and that fear is, in our opinion, grossly exaggerated,’ he said.
According to the commission, factors such as post-traumatic stress were not considered enough when asylum-seekers had their initial interviews with border officials. Victims of rape and torture who might initially find it difficult to describe their experiences sometimes had their cases overlooked because they only described these incidents in later conversations.
‘Some of those seeking sanctuary, particularly women, children and torture survivors, have additional vulnerabilities that are not being appropriately addressed,’ it found.”
Source The Independent 27/3/2008

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