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Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bancroft, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blease, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brightman, L. [Teller.]
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Clancarty, E.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Craigavon, V.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Falkender, B.
Falkland, V.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greene of Harrow Weald, L.
Gregson, L.
Grey, E.
Halsbury, E.
Hampton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Iddesleigh, E.
Inchyra, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kintore, E.
Lockwood, B.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McCarthy, L.
McGregor of Durris, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Onslow, E.
Oxford, Bp.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Ripon, Bp.
Rix, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E. [Teller.]
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shannon, E.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thurso, V.
Tonypandy, V.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
White, B.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.

NOT-CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Balfour, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berners, B.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brain, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.]
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cromer, E.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Denman, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Downshire, M.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elton, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Goold, L.
Goschen, V.
Granard, E.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hesketh, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Kenyon, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Layton, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mottistone, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nelson, E.
Newall, L.
Norfolk, D.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Orkney, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pike, B.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Rodney, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Slim, V.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wedgwood, L.
Westbury, L.
Wise, L.
Wolfson, L.
Wyatt of Weeford, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

24 Jun 1996 : Column 632

24 Jun 1996 : Column 633

5.38 p.m.

Lord Brightman moved Amendment No. 59:


Before Clause 8, insert the following new clause--

Detention of children

(". Paragraph 16 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act (detention of persons liable to examination or removal) shall not apply to a young unaccompanied asylum seeker unless it appears that he is likely to abscond if he is not detained under the authority of an immigration officer.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 59 relates to the detention of young unaccompanied asylum seekers of 17 years of age or younger. The amendment seeks to insert the following new clause:


    "Paragraph 16 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act ... shall not apply to a young unaccompanied asylum seeker unless it appears that he is likely to abscond if he is not detained under the authority of an immigration officer".
The 1971 Act empowers an immigration officer to authorise the detention of a refugee pending a decision as to his right of entry. This provision applies to children as well as adults, whether accompanied or unaccompanied. Detention takes place in an immigration detention centre or a secure hostel run by the Immigration Service. Sometimes it takes place in police cells or prisons for short spells. In none of those places is there any special provision for unaccompanied children, or indeed children at all. My amendment provides that a child refugee who is unaccompanied should not be locked up by the Immigration Service unless it appears that he is likely to abscond if not detained; that is to say--I use the definition in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary--


    "If he is liable to go away secretly or fly from the law".

According to the Refugee Council, over 50 unaccompanied children have been detained by the Immigration Service since April 1994 while their applications for asylum were being considered. To their great credit, the Government have issued directions for dealing with the detention of child refugees in a document issued by the Home Office entitled Immigration Service Instructions to Staff on detention. It states in paragraph 12:


    "Authority at a minimum of Inspector level is required for the detention of children under 18, whether accompanied or not. Once authorised, detention should be reviewed by an Assistant Director within 24 hours".

My amendment seeks to fill the gap left by the Home Office instructions relating to unaccompanied children by specifying the circumstances in which detention may properly take place. If the amendment is not accepted by the Government, there will be no law, no practice directions, no guidance whatever for an immigration officer as to when it is proper to authorise detention. Surely he ought to be told, and surely the test should be: is the child likely to abscond, to go away secretly, or fly from the law? I beg to move.

The Lord Bishop of Ripon: My Lords, I am pleased to support the amendment. The number of young accompanied asylum seekers detained is not large, as the noble and learned Lord made clear; but, nevertheless, it is sufficiently large to arouse concern. I have the figure of some 54 young people who have been detained since

24 Jun 1996 : Column 634

the Refugee Council panel of advisers was set up. Most of them of course have been 16 and 17 year-olds, but there have been some 15 year-olds.

I have two particular concerns. The first is that those young people are placed in centres which are primarily for adults. They are therefore in the setting which is appropriate for adults but which is by no means appropriate for young people. My second concern is that I understand that there is no formal education provision within those detention centres. Therefore young people are being deprived of any opportunity for education during that period. That appears to put this country in breach of Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We have been given a number of examples of children who have been detained. One of the points which strikes me, which bears on our debate on the previous amendment, is that in some cases the family situation is such that either one or both parents have been killed in a conflict. That means that such children are not merely in a strange country but may well have suffered the trauma of not just separation from, but the death of, other members of their family. It is wrong that such children should be detained in those circumstances.

I accept entirely the proviso which the noble and learned Lord included. There are circumstances in which it is right that such people should be detained, but unless that criterion is met, I do not believe that that is right. I am glad to support the amendment.

5.45 p.m.

Baroness David: My Lords, I support the amendment. My name is to it. It must seem intolerable to all of us that children can be detained, and very often these children are in adult prisons. It seems even more wrong that they should have to mix with adults on these occasions. The numbers, as has been said by the previous two speakers, are very few. So it would not be so difficult to get these children dealt with in a different way, and I am sure that that is possible.

In locking up these children, we are going against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the UK is a signatory. It quite clearly states in Article 37:


    "The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child ... shall be used only as a measure of last resort for the shortest appropriate period of time ... Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated ... in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interests not to do so".

While these children are in adult prisons it is most unlikely that they are getting any education at all. Their needs are not being taken care of. The panel of advisers is strongly against this locking up of children. I think that the House must feel that it is totally wrong that this should be going on in what we think of as a civilised country. I have great pleasure in supporting the noble and learned Lord's amendment.


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