Children detained at Heathrow
Children are being detained in “degrading and disgusting” accommodation at Heathrow. The rooms are said to be small, stuffy and windowless with many children being kept in rooms with adults who are not related to them, putting children at further risk.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has said rooms were “small and stuffy” and at times, children spent the night at the non-residential facility.
It has been reported that over 15,000 people are detained at Heathrow every year and many are kept over 12 hours at a time, with many having to stay in accommodation overnight.
According to an IMB spokesperson, children cannot always be allowed into the country straight away and must sometimes stay in the accommodation for their own protection and are detained for various reasons. Children who are put into these windowless rooms have no natural light. The children are said to be left without parents or guardians and without any toys, books or even somewhere to wash in the morning.
It was reported in October last year that 657 under-18s were detained between May and August 2011 without suitable accommodation. The Home Office has said children should not be detained for more than 24 hours.
The report from IMB said: “However, the accommodation remains unsuitable for anything but a very brief period of detention and is quite inappropriate for holding children or for overnight use.”
IMB had accordingly said that the detainee rooms have improved in the last five years. Further improvements in the accommodation was said to take place in 2011. This is yet still to be seen according to recent reports.
IMB are now working towards making sure improvements happen at airports such as Heathrow.