Today is World Day for the Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children. Tomorrow is the United Nation’s Universal Children’s Day. Yet, this weekend there are children in Scotland too afraid to go to sleep for fear of being woken by a knock on the door, or worse, because they fear they will be woken by uniform-clad officials handcuffing their mothers.
Fanciful? Not if you are a child in an asylum-seeking or refugee family. For that is what happened to Funke and Joseph last week. The UK Government has stealthily resumed dawn raids, despite Depute Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s pronouncement in July that such raids were a moral outrage. And still they go on, despite an empty promise from the ConDem government to end the forcible detention of children in July 2010 – and despite the success of the Glasgow Girls (pictured above, Amal Azzadin).
This Monday, the Unity Centre (Glasgow) is mounting a day of action and protest against the continuation of dawn raids, beginning at 10am at Festival Court outside the UKBA reporting centre and headquarters of the Immigration Enforcement Team on Brand Street. They want to make it clear to the UK authorities, the day after the world unites to promote the welfare of children, that dawn raids and the forcible detention of families is unacceptable.
And they are calling on everyone to join them, in a “colourful noisy protest”.
We might have thought that these offensive and reprehensible practices, which cause trauma and fear in innocent, vulnerable children, were a thing of the past. The Scottish Parliament, with the support of then Scottish children’s commissioner, Kathleen Marshall, have been protesting and condemning dawn raids since 2006. Nothings happened.
But if you cannot make it along to the protest, the Unity Centre is calling for people to make their views and voice heard in other ways. They are urging Scottish people to:
- contact their MSP and write to First Minister Alex Salmond MSP
Members of the Scottish Parliament have often voiced their condemnation of the practice, as have members of the Glasgow communities where asylum seekers live and also outraged members of the Scottish public. So, the Unity Centre are asking people to write and demand that the Scottish Government takes up the issue with the UK Government.
Find your MSP at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps.aspx
- contact their MP and Depute Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP
The UK Government promised to end child detention but Unity maintains they haven’t. In fact, they’ve just put the date back – again – by which they will do this. So write and demand that Nick Clegg keeps his promise to do so. Send an email or go to a local surgery and make your views known. MPs can be found here:
- contact the UK Government Children’s Minister Sarah Teather MP
and demand that she respects the rights of ALL children, including asylum seeking families. Emails can be sent to email@example.com
Protest, write, condemn, email. Add your voice to stop these traumatic and barbaric practices and help promote the welfare of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.