Here’s what we’ve been up to in the press since October 2009 (in reverse order). All these pieces, one way or another (researching, writing, ghosting, dreaming up stunts, press-releasing, guiding into print), were initiated by us. We haven’t included those articles where End Child Detention Now is only quoted. This material is fully updated at ClareSambrook.com.
openDemocracy 13 January 2011
An end to child detention?: a High Court judgement brings us closer
By ECDN’s Simon Parker
In the High Court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Wyn Williams might have driven the last nail into the coffin of Britain’s infamous and long-running child immigration detention policy.
openDemocracy 11 January 2011
Man or mouse? Keith Vaz should demand urgent reform of the UK Border Agency
By ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
‘Much of the delay in concluding asylum and other immigration cases stems from poor quality decision-making when the application is initially considered,’ says Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee whose latest report on the UK Border Agency’s work is published today. Two cheers for Vaz and the HASC! It might be three if only they were clearer and more forceful in their criticism of an agency whose deficiencies are systemic and rooted in a culture characterised by denial and deceit.
Liberal Democrat Voice 1 January 2011
Child detention – mind the gap between rhetoric and reality
By ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
‘Today marks a big culture shift within our immigration system,’ said Nick Clegg two weeks ago, announcing plans purporting to end child detention. ‘That practice, the practice we inherited, ends here,’ he said. Sadly, it didn’t end there.
openDemocracy 31 December 2010
Mind the Gap! Coalition claims and realities for child detention
By ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
When Nick Clegg announced two weeks ago, ‘Today marks a big culture shift within our immigration system,’ I was struck by a vivid image of horses struggling to push carts. A big culture shift is exactly what is needed at the Home Office, but there is no sign of its happening any time soon.
openDemocracy 15 December 2010
Five years of denial: the UK government’s reckless pursuit of a punitive asylum policy — never mind the evidence of harm
By ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
Maybe deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is poised to end for good the scandal of child detention by the immigration authorities in his pre-Christmas statement. Maybe not.
Perhaps they’re making Clegg the bagman for the latest load of Home Office trickery regarding a policy that for years has been characterised by both brutality and deceit. I hope not. But this is a moment to gather together the shameful evidence of the last five years so that it will not be forgotten.
C4 Dispatches 29 November 2010
The Kids Britain Doesn’t Want, by David Modell. Producers Adam Warner & Rachel Seifert (with research support from ECDN) Through the stories of a 10-year-old Iranian boy, a 16-year-old Afghan and a 22-year-old Ugandan woman, Dispatches explores the experiences of young people who have been brutalized by the British asylum system. Video here.
Times 27 November 2010
Children seek the final exit from house of nightmares, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
One day last year a young woman walked into the police station of her northern town to sign in, as the immigration authorities required her to do fortnightly. It was a Monday. As usual she had left her two-year-old son playing with friends. This time she did not return to collect him. Read on (PDF).
BBC R4 Media Show 24 November 2010
Investigative journalism and End Child Detention Now
with ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
Clare Sambrook has recently won two investigative journalism prizes, the Paul Foot Award and the Bevins Prize for investigation into child detention in the UK. Clare talks with Steve Hewlett about the campaign.
Listen at 19.27 minutes here.
Big Issue in the North 22 November 2010
Why don’t we keep our promise on child detention?
By ECDN’s Esmé Madill
While we wait for Nick Clegg to rediscover his sense of moral outrage, innocent children continue to be locked up. Read on (PDF).
Guardian 18 November 2010
Letter, by ECDN’s Esmé Madill & Simon Parker
The only alternative to detaining 1000 children a year, as Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert said in June, is not to detain them.
openDemocracy 16 November 2010
On Her Majesty’s Deceitful Service: The Woolas Case and the Ignoble Lies of the British State
By ECDN’s Simon Parker
Rather than raking over the coals of the Oldham East and Saddleworth Election campaign, we should examine Phil Woolas’s record as Immigration Minister.
openDemocracy 9 November 2010
Clare wins again! ‘Investigative Comment’ and the future of journalism on the web
By Anthony Barnett
Clare Sambrook has just won the Bevins Prize for Investigative Journalism, as well as scooping up the Paul Foot Award last week, both of them for her stories exposing the scandal of child detention in Britain. It is a terrific recognition of her and her team of unpaid fellow campaigners at End Child Detention Now. openDemocracy is proud of being her main publisher, in our UK section OurKingdom. Her reports are listed here.
It is the first time that either award has gone to journalism primarily published on the web. The changing balance between the new and mainstream media, much chattered about, is now becoming real. In the process the nature of journalism is being changed. For the better.
openDemocracy 8 November 2010
UK Gov’s slippery response on ‘moral outrage’ of child detention
By ECDN team
End Child Detention Now’s point-by-point rebuttal of the government’s highly misleading letter to thousands of people who signed our on-line petition calling for the end of child detention.
New Londoners 28 September 2010
Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers and the ‘Culture of Disbelief, by Siobhan Corria. Traumatised by war, abuse, torture, trafficking, sexual exploitation or persecution, unaccompanied asylum seeking children are among the most vulnerable people in our society…
openDemocracy 15 October 2010
Meet G4S, Government’s untouchable friend by Clare Sambrook.
The Guardian’s disturbing revelations about the final fatal journey of Angolan Jimmy Mubenga in the care of Home Office contractor G4S have sent a chill through migrant networks…
Private Eye (issue 1272) 1 October 2010
Clegg’s back-track on detention by Clare Sambrook.
‘After Labour’s decade-long assault on civil liberties . . . we’ve scrapped child detention in the immigration system,’ boasted Nick Clegg in a begging letter to supporters just before the Lib Dem’s party’s conference. Alas this was not true…
Video Journalism Movement 15 Sept 2010
Refugees out in the cold by Adam Westbrook.
Short film including interviews with ECDN contacts: Songul, whose asylum case is one of those in limbo as a result of the Refugee & Migrant Justice collapse, solicitor Hani Zubeidi, and Bernard Thurlow, volunteer refugee worker.
Liberal Democrat Voice 15 September 2010
Please ensure they end child detention by Clare Sambrook.
Liberal Democrats are understandably confused about whether child detention is ending or not. Nick Clegg got the commitment to end child detention into the Coalition Agreement…
openDemocracy 13 September 2010
The Liberal Democrats must fight to salvage their promise to end the detention of children for immigration purposes in the UK.
by Clare Sambrook. Ask Boy A what he is scared of and he says dogs, strangers and policemen. He is scared to go outside and play with friends. At night he wets his bed. He cannot sleep without his mother. He is nine years old. At their autumn conference this weekend Liberal Democrats wanting to rescue their end child detention pledge from Home Office sabotage will find ammunition in a chilling new report from Medical Justice.
Private Eye (issue 1269) 20 August 2010
Double detention, by Clare Sambrook. No wonder security company G4S was ‘disappointed’ with the news that the government is to close Oakington immigration detention centre, where a 40-year-old asylum seeker collapsed and died amid claims that he had been denied swift medical help.
Guardian 19 July 2010
Where is Gloria now? Nobody knows, by Esmé Madill. As the case of a deported frail and mentally ill woman shows, our stretched asylum system fails the most needy and vulnerable.
openDemocracy 15 July 2010, Rethinking asylum, by Colin Firth. As the Coalition government reappraises how the UK treats those who seek sanctuary within its borders, OurKingdom publishes an article by actor Colin Firth based on his submission to the Home Office Review into Ending the Detention of Children for Immigration Purposes.
Private Eye (issue 1266) 9 July 2010, Homer’s oddity, by Clare Sambrook. Amid mounting political concern about child detention just before the General Election, UKBA granted private contractors Serco a contract to carry on running Yarl’s Wood for the next three years, costing the tax-payer £900,000 every month.
Quaker Asylum & Refugee Network 28 June
Rage and dismay greet Refugee & Migrant Justice collapse
Independent Catholic News 28 June 2010
Cuts shut down refugee legal service putting lives at risk
Private Eye (issue 1265) 23 June 2010, Child’s prey, by Clare Sambrook. Last year, after a serious incident of child sex abuse at Yarl’s Wood, UKBA failed to investigate the incident or provide adequate care for the children involved.
The official report detailing catastrophic failings by UKBA, Serco and Bedfordshire Social Services, was put online with the words ‘Yarl’s Wood’ omitted and without notifying reporters. Happily we were able to offer an advance briefing and circulate the report, with these results …
Daily Telegraph 17 June 2010, Yarl’s Wood immigration centre treated children in a shameful way, by Malcolm Stevens
Independent 15 June 2010, Yarl’s Wood criticised over sex case, by Kunal Dutta
Children & Young People Now 15 June, Criticism over Yarl’s Wood ‘sexual assault’ failings, by Joe Lepper
Community Care, 14 June 2010,Yarl’s Wood children failed by social workers, by Molly Garboden
Guardian 14 June 2010, Yarl’s Wood criticised for poor investigation into child sex case, by Rachel Williams
Quaker Asylum & Refugee Network, Bedfordshire Local Safeguarding Children Board publishes highly critical report
Counterfire 15 June 2010, Suffer the children, Five year old abused at Yarl’s Wood
Scrutinising the new government’s pledge to end child detention…
New Londoners 17 June 2010, Despair, hope and despair again: the rollercoaster ride towards ending child detention, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook.
Ministers have taken the cruel and witless decision to carry on wrecking people’s lives while civil servants and ‘stakeholders’ engage in a wide-ranging review.
Nursery World 17 June 2010, Letter by ECDN’s Mary McCormack
JCWI Bulletin June 2010, Let’s make the end of child detention herald a humane and evidence-based approach to asylum, by Clare Sambrook & Esmé Madill of ECDN (Print only)
Exposing Yarl’s Wood & Tinsley House contractors’ profits and executive pay…
Guardian 15 June 2010, Serco boss Chris Hyman gets a gong, by Hugh Muir, Don’t worry, be happy. It’s all good.
Daily Telegraph city pages 29 May 2010, SOAS Detainee Support (above) challenge G4S chief executive Nick Buckles outside his annual meeting. (Print only)
The Guardian 28 May 2010, Don’t replace child detention with enforced separation, by ECDN’s Simon Parker
Open Democracy 28 May 2010, Let’s end child detention at the Release Carnival, by Mia Eskelund
SOAS Detainee Support challenge G4S chief executive Nick Buckles at his annual meeting.
Open Democracy 24 May 2010, Mother and child detained and deported, by Robina Qureshi
The Guardian 24 May 2010, Coalition must act on shameful detention, letter, by Colin Firth
Counterfire 24 May 2010, Release Carnival and march to end child detention
Helping experts into the comment pages…
The Guardian 23 May 2010, Speedy end to child detention is needed, by Prof Sir Al Aynsley-Green
Daily Telegraph 20 May 2010, Yarl’s Wood immigration centre is not fit for children and families, by Malcolm Stevens
Helping Yarl’s Wood families into print…
The Observer 23 May 2010, End our children’s nightmare, Letter, by Yarl’s Wood Families
Exposing falsity of government pledge …
Open Democracy, Manchester Mule, Counterfire 19 May 2010, When they said ‘We will end child detention,’ they meant ‘Keep on arresting babies’, by Clare Sambrook of END CHILD DETENTION NOW. Full posts on: Open Democracy or Manchester Mule or Counterfire
‘I told them please don’t send me and my baby in the van for nine hours, she is too young, I asked them to speak to my lawyer. But she just told me, “Look either you go in the van or we will take your baby in a separate van and you won’t see her until you get to Yarl’s Wood.”’
Sehar Shebaz and baby Wanya eight months, arrested and detained, rushed out of Britain into danger in May 2010, only days after new government announced commitment to ending child detention.
Open Democracy 12 May 2010, Let’s make sure they really do end child detention now, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
The companies that profit from locking up innocent families …
Guardian 12 May, Serco boss Chris Hyman’s pay package jumped 34% in 2009 to £1,578,682, or about £4,000 a day, by Hugh Muir
Morning Star 11 May 2010, Megaprofits from taxpayers’ pockets, by Paddy McGuffin
Serco boss Chris Hyman’s pay soars to £1,578,682
Daily Telegraph 11 May 2010, Serco shareholder’s question about Yarl’s Wood, by Jonathan Russell, City Diary editor
Private Eye (issue 1261) 30 April 2010 Crime Pays, by Clare Sambrook
G4S Nick Buckles pockets £1,656,251, on top of a £6million pension pot, on top of a £115,000 divi payment on his £4 million stack of shares, as detainee Eliud Nguli Nyense dies at Oakington Detention Centre.
Brighton Argus 6 May 2010, Quizzing Brighton Pavilion parliamentary candidates, by ECDN’s Judith Townend
Open Democracy 4 May 2010, Challenging Gordon Brown on child detention
Following Brown’s speech to Citizens UK today, the Prime Minister, attempting to leave the stage, was challenged… OurKingdom publishes an exchange on child detention between Brown and Clare Sambrook, journalist and oD author.
Highlighting threat to MPs’ assistance for asylum-seekers …
Open Democracy 26 April 2010, Election: asylum seekers lose their last safety net, by Clare Sambrook of END CHILD DETENTION NOW
Surveillance + detention = £Billions …
Open Democracy, Counterfire, Manchester Mule 13 April 2010
Surveillance + detention = £Billions: How Labour’s friends are ‘securing your world’, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook.
Nursery World 7 April 2010, End Child Detention Now, by Beverley Naidoo
Exposing ministers’ lies …
Private Eye (issue 1259) 2 April 2010, Pulling the Woolas, by Clare Sambrook
Is minister Phil Woolas — the MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth (majority 4,225) — lying about child detention in order to appease the 5,435 Oldham residents who voted BNP in last year’s Euro Elections?
The Hackney Citizen 30 March 2010, Diane Abbott is right to call for Yarl’s Wood closure, say campaigners, letter by ECDN’s Esmé Madill and Simon Parker
The Guardian 25 March 2010, Can Labour ‘out nasty’ the Tories on asylum? By ECDN’s Simon Parker
Phil Woolas’s defence of the inhumane Yarl’s Wood removal centre reflects Labour’s shift to the right on asylum
Open Democracy 19 March 2009, Has Meg Hillier gone mad? By ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
The minister’s lies and evasions about child detention
Private Eye (issue 1258) 18 March 2010, ‘All the detainees are treated with dignity and respect’, by Clare Sambrook
Rima Andmariam, aged 16, woken by Yarl’s Wood staff and told to dress for deportation the morning after her removal had been halted.
BBC Daily Politics Show 19 March 2010, Michael Morpurgo, filmed outside Yarl’s Wood on the Daily Politics show: ‘Even our worst condemned criminals do not have their children dragged into jail with them.’
Global Voices Online 19 March 2010, Fight to keep children out of immigration detention centres, By Judith Townend of END CHILD DETENTION NOW. Translated into Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and Macedonian.
Injustices around ‘age assessment’ …
Open Democracy 8 March 2010, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
Take one traumatised child … Arrested, detained, put in padded clothing, and held behind bars with adult men, because Home Office insisted he was a grown-up, Child M, aged 14 with his big brother Z, acknowledged by Home Office to be aged 17.
Supporting Children’s Commissioner Sir Al Aynsley-Green’s follow-up report on Yarl’s Wood …
Daily Telegraph 19 February 2010, Church leaders’ letter protesting against detention policy in light of Children’s Commissioner’s report
Bishop Doyé Agama, Deputy Moderator, Churches Together in England (CTE); The Most Rev Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales; The Rt Rev John Packer Bishop of Ripon and Leeds; Rev David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference; The Rt Rev Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; The Rt Rev Patrick Lynch, Chairman, Office for Migration Policy, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; Rev Inderjit S. Bhogal, Former President of the Methodist Conference; Steve Clifford, General Director, Evangelical Alliance; Lt-Col Marion Drew, Secretary for Communications, The Salvation Army; Rev Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain; Rev Peter Macdonald, Leader, The Iona Community; Rev John Marsh, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church; Susan Seymour Clerk, Meeting for Sufferings, The Religious Society of Friends; Margaret Swinson, Moderator, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
Coordinated by ECDN’s Esme Madill.
The Guardian 18 February 2010 Well-loved writers, directors & actors’ letter protesting against the detention policy, in light of Children’s Commissioner’s report
Sir Nicholas Hytner, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Joanna Lumley, Juliet Stevenson, Miriam Margolyes, Lenny Henry, Terry Jones, Tindy Agaba MA Law student, former child refugee, Anthony Browne Children’s laureate 2009-11, Carol Ann Duffy Poet laureate, Michael Rosen Children’s laureate 2007-09, Jacqueline Wilson Children’s laureate 2005-07 Michael Morpurgo Children’s laureate 2003-05, Anne Fine Children’s laureate 2001-03, Quentin Blake Children’s laureate 1999-2001, Philip Pullman, Sandi Toksvig, Nick Hornby, Michael Bond, Benjamin Zephaniah, Roger McGough, Matthew Bourne, Kamila Shamsie, Michelle Magorian, Beverley Naidoo, Lynne Reid Banks, Esther Freud, Henry Porter, Livia Firth, Natasha Walter, Emma Freud, Melly Still, Jamila Gavin, Mariella Frostrup, Anna Home, Vicky Ireland, David Wood.
Coordinated by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook.
Exposing Home Office attempts to misrepresent another well-evidenced report …
The Guardian 19 February 2010, Don’t deny this detention damage, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
Government lies to undermine the Children’s Commissioner’s report about the distress suffered by children being held in Yarl’s Wood.
Cumberland News 5 February 2010, Cumbrian author aiming to free the asylum children, by Roger Lytollis
Exposing Home Office attempts to smear health professionals and bury medical evidence …
Open Democracy 17 January 2010, Roll calls, body searches and sex games, by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
What Parliament isn’t being told about children’s lives inside a UK detention centre
Inspired by Beverley Naidoo’s Guardian story, Cumbrian bookseller, Derek Robinson (below, image by Fred Wilson) spent Christmas Day making the 500-mile round-trip to Bedfordshire to deliver books and puzzles for the innocent children locked up at Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Also appeared in Big Issue in the North
Press support for young refugees at Downing Street …
Community Care 18 December 2009, End child detention, Paddington and refugees tell Gordon Brown, by ECDN’s Esmé Madill
Luton Today 17 December 2009, Author’s bid to end detention, by Hayley O’Keeffe (In collaboration with Natasha Walter, Women for Refugee Women, Beverley Naidoo and Karin Littlewood).
The Independent 17 December 2009, Locking up children shames us, by Matthew Norman
The lasting damage caused at Yarl’s Wood is apparently not our problem
The Guardian 16 December 2009, Inside Yarl’s Wood immigration centre
Author Beverley Naidoo, who first came to the UK seeking refuge, meets children detained at Yarl’s Wood.
(In collaboration with Natasha Walter of Women for Refugee Women, Beverley Naidoo, pictured below with illustrator Karin Littlewood).
The Independent 14 December 2009, Stop abusing child refugees (says illegal immigrant from Darkest Peru) by Robert Verkaik
Paddington creator and other authors and actors send letter to Downing Street
Supporting Children’s Commissioner Sir Al Aynsley-Green and the medical Royal Colleges joint statement …
The Independent 14 December 2009, Leading article: The cruelty of locking up child asylum-seekers
There are alternatives to the policy of detaining migrant families
The Observer 13 December 2009, More than sixty leading children’s authors and illustrators including Quentin Blake, Michael Bond, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, Beverley Naidoo, sign a letter to Gordon Brown, condemning child detention and supporting Sir Al and the Royal Colleges.
Coordinated by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook
The Observer 13 December 2009, Let us hope we have not sunk to the level of mistreating children to deter asylum seekers, by Henry Porter
For a government that makes much of its record on protecting children from cruelty and abuse, it is extraordinary that the truth about Yarl’s Wood is that it damages terribly the children held there
Big Issue In The North 12 December 2009, Medical bodies call for end to child detention (print only)
Exposing hypocrisy of a Yarl’s Wood PR stunt
Private Eye 10 December 2009, Serco Clowns, by Clare Sambrook
Commercial contractors Serco and the Home Office throw a party to open the new school for innocent children forcibly detained at Yarl’s Wood.
The Guardian 24 November 2009, The brutal truth of child detention, by Henry Porter
2,000 asylum seekers’ kids a year are locked up, and the only beneficiaries seem to be firms running centres like Yarl’s Wood
Porter’s story on a report by ECDN’s Clare Sambrook. Child detention: who benefits?
The Guardian 5 November 2009, Disguising the detention of children, by Henry Porter
It is difficult to think of two more sinister New Labour figures than Phil Woolas, immigration minister, and Lady Delyth Morgan, parliamentary under-secretary for children.
Promoting medical evidence the Home Office tried to bury …
Big Issue In The North 2 November 2009, Writers call on Prime Minister to halt child detention (Print only)
The Guardian 28 October 2009, Dozens of authors including Andrea Levy, David Mitchell, Jeanette Winterson and Gillian Slovo sign a letter to Gordon Brown, published in The Guardian.
Coordinated by Clare Sambrook with thanks to Kamila Shamsie.
The Times 27 October 2009, No need to defend kids? The hell there isn’t, by Sathnam Sanghera
If this column were about puppies being held in indefinite detention with no judicial oversight, my inbox would be full.
The Guardian 21 October 2009, Stop imprisoning children now, by ECDN’s Simon Parker.
Would Phil Woolas let his children be locked up? This shameful practice of detaining families seeking asylum must stop.
The Independent 20 October 2009 End the inhumanity of child detention, by ECDN’s Esmé Madill
The plight of the children of asylum seekers represents a sadly unexceptional failure of public conscience.
Northern Echo 13 October 2009 This life-wrecking process serves no purpose, letter by ECDN’S Esmé Madill
York Press 10 October 2009, End Child Detention letter by ECDN’s Esmé Madill
Hull Daily Mail 9 October 2009 Let’s End Child Detention Now, letter by ECDN’s Esmé Madill
About the ECDN press campaign
Through the Summer of 2009 six friends helped a small family who had been split up and imprisoned simply because they had exercised their legal right to claim asylum in this country.
One family’s story
The father was separated from his wife and toddler for nine months. The two year old child was left parentless for 4 days. This traumatised family was reunited by uniformed guards in a car-park, then locked up in Yarl’s Wood for 26 days.
The 30th solicitor we called agreed to represent them. Eventually they were released and permitted leave to remain here. There had never been any reason to detain them.
We know this family. We felt furious and ashamed about what our government did to them. So we launched what we hoped would be the shortest campaign in British political history. We called it End Child Detention Now. This page is about our press campaign, led by Clare Sambrook. You can read more about the full campaign at this link.
Since October 2009 we have worked to enhance the quality, depth and quantity of press coverage about the UK government’s policy of locking up asylum-seeker families who are at no risk of absconding in places — such as Yarl’s Wood detention centre — that are known to harm their mental health.
Investigating government lies
Clare Sambrook has researched and written investigative stories and comment articles — published in Open Democracy, Private Eye and Guardian on-line — exposing Home Office efforts to bury medical evidence of harm and illuminating the government’s cosy relationship with the security companies who run the detention centres for profit. (Image: Jo Hunt)
Running a sort of free press-office, Clare has researched and given away material to other journalists, offered advance briefings and circulated material — such as the buried report on failure to investigate a case of child sex abuse at Yarl’s Wood — that might otherwise have been kept out of the media.
We have provided investigative research, academic research (by Alexa Kellow and Dr Simon Parker), the fruits of Freedom of Information requests (by Elena Egawhary) and other intelligence to media including C4 Dispatches (through Dartmouth Films), and to Michael Morpurgo for his BBC Daily Politics appearance.
Helping detainees into print
We helped enabled families detained at Yarl’s Wood to get their letter to Nick Clegg published in the Observer, and secured coverage in Community Care for young refugees petitioning Downing Street (left).
We have helped eminent experts get their comment articles into print, and advised other groups, including Refugee & Migrant Justice, the Royal Medical Colleges and SOAS Detainee Support, on media strategy.
The End Child Detention Now team — a group of friends working unpaid — have written our own comment articles across the national and professional press — Guardian, Independent, Community Care, Nursery World, Big Issue in the North.
Bishops, novelists and Paddington Bear
Our series of public letters signed by prominent Bishops, novelists, children’s writers and actors, published in the Guardian, Observer and Daily Telegraph, opened up fruitful relationships with, among others, children’s writers Beverley Naidoo, Michael Morpurgo and Michael Bond who kindly forwarded a comment from Paddington Bear that alone earned a whole page in the Independent.
We’ve used Facebook and Twitter (Judith Townend runs our Twitter campaign) to bring new readers to our published material, and we’ve encouraged social action sites and faith media to cross-post, some of our stories running simultaneously on Open Democracy, Counterfire, Manchester Mule, Independent Catholic News and Quaker Asylum & Refugee Network.
We’ve run the press campaign alongside our series of public vigils and demonstrations coordinated by Esmé Madill.
Lobbying Members of Parliament
Mary McCormack led our effort to lobby every MP to sign Chris Mullin MP’s early day motion calling upon the government to end the practice of holding children in immigration detention centres. In all 121 MPs supported the Motion, thanks partly to Nick Clegg’s agreeing to ask all Lib Dem MPs to sign.
In seven months nearly 5000 people signed the End Child Detention Now national on-line petition, 700 of them in a few days after Guardian Society ran Beverley Naidoo’s startling story about her workshop with the children inside Yarl’s Wood.
This work is dedicated to all the people who have suffered the injustices of the UK asylum system, with thanks to all the journalists who have run our material.