Emma Foster - Community Newswire
Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ), which provides legal representation to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants, said it applauded the new government for saying it will stop the practice.
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition agreement document, published on Wednesday, stated: "We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit.
"We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes."
Caroline Slocock, chief executive of RMJ, said: "We are delighted at the decision to end child detention for immigration purposes and applaud the new Government for recognising the inhumanity of this practice - which treats children like criminals when they have done no crime and can leave scars for life.
"We hope that this will be implemented immediately and that whatever measures brought in to replace detention will put the welfare and safety of these children first.
"We hope that this change of policy will also extend to migrant children currently being imprisoned in this country due to disputes about their age.
"In all cases, children should be given the benefit of the doubt rather than running the risk of locking up children with adults.
"We also call on the new Government to review inhumane practices toward migrant children as highlighted in our report Safe at Last.
"The report exposed the fact that exhausted and often unwell children are being interviewed on record on arrival at Dover, without legal representation and without regard to their welfare needs."
* Refugee and Migrant Justice, formerly the Refugee Legal Centre, is a national provider of legal representation to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants. For more information or to read the Safe at Last report visit www.rmj.org.uk.