Barnardo’s children’s charity has announced plans to provide ‘family welfare services’ at a proposed new immigration detention centre in Pease Pottage, West Sussex.

The government claims this will be an 'accommodation centre’ not a detention centre, yet children will be locked in and staff will have powers to use force and 'control and restraint' techniques against them.

The government is using Barnardo’s as a cover for going back on its pledge to end child detention. It cites the children’s charity’s involvement as proof that the new centre will be run on a ‘care model rather than a secure one’. Yet the contract to run the centre has been given to G4S, a global security corporation currently under threat of corporate manslaughter charges for the death of Jimmy Mubenga on a deportation flight to Angola last year.

Condemnation of Barnardo’s has come from many quarters, including former Children Commissioner Sir Al Ainsley Green who asks how Barnardo’s ‘will be able to hold government to account over the way it is managing children and families facing deportation . . . when receiving government funding for their services?’ And exactly how much funding will Barnardo’s receive for these ‘services’?

The mental and physical harm caused to children by detention is well documented. Barnardo’s claimed to oppose it. Their chief executive, Martin Narey, said that ‘Incarcerating [children] . . . was . . . just plain wrong.’

Barnado’s appalling history over the last century of stealing children from their families and deporting them to Canada and Australia where many faced cruelty and rape as indentured workers, is once again coming to light. Barnado’s latest complicity in the abuse of children must be stopped. They must immediately withdraw from the Pease Pottage Centre and any other detention scheme.

We say:
Detention by any other name is still detention.
Barnardo’s must stop collaborating with child detention.

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