Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Some good news for young Afghans - Contract for reception centre in Kabul scrapped

I received this information in an e-mail today;

Just wanted to let you know that following lobbying by The Children's Society and partners in the sector, the government has decided to scrap the contract for the reception centre in Kabul. The reception centre (plans for which were revealed last summer) was to have space for 16 to 17 year olds alongside adult reception facilities. We raised concerns with Ministers on the basis of the quality and appropriateness of plans in the context of UK's child welfare and safeguarding duties under domestic and international law, and called on Ministers to recognise that all Afghan children in the UK are children in need of international protection from armed conflict and their best interests are not met by being returned to that country whilst these conditions persist. We called on government to cancel its contracting plans and to provide a durable status for Afghan children instead of temporary discretionary leave based solely on the age of the child and lack of adequate reception arrangements. Obviously the latter point will require some more persuading but still a positive development for the time being.

We now understand that they will re-tender for a new centre for adults and will not include facilities for 16 and 17 year olds. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any new developments and how this is likely to affect the young people you work with.

If you have read my previous posts, "What did you do for your 18th birthday" and "I felt like I was on the set of Babylon 5" , about the potential deportation of Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers from Afghanistan, you will know that I will be very happy to have read this today. This is one small victory for those who have been campaigning against the plans to deport young 16 and 17 year olds to Afghanistan.

Small victories like this are what keep me campaigning and promoting the voices of those who aren't always heard!

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