A A English | Cymraeg

Young Lives in Limbo: the protection of age disputed young people in Wales, 10/08/11 [W]

The Welsh Refugee Council report: ‘Young Lives in Limbo: the protection of age disputed young people in Wales’, launched today, describes the experience of children and young people whose lives are left in limbo, outside of societies protective mechanisms because their age is disputed by the UK Border Agency or Local Authorities.

Children and young people, who arrive in Wales without a birth certificate, passport, or other identification documents, which would identify them as a child, yet remain vulnerable, traumatised, and alone because there is no standardised measurement for assessing age. Children and young people, who are victims of war and have witnessed horrendous violence and death; children and young people who have been persecuted for their political activities or those of their families and are housed in asylum support accommodation with strangers about whom nothing is known . Children and young people, who have been trafficked into the UK for exploitation and financial gain- and have been instructed to inform the authorities that they are an Adult.

Children and young people who deserve a fair and transparent age assessment process in Wales. Where Local Authorities strive to establish and maintain exemplary child-centred practices, which ensure that children are recognised as children. That reflects Welsh Government’s, commitments to the UNCRC rights of all children and delivers on UKBA safeguarding duties. A difficult challenge, but one that all stakeholders have agreed needs significant improvement and which we all have a duty to work together to achieve. This report presents a clear rationale for change and makes recommendations to all stakeholders to ensure that the age assessment process in Wales, moves away from a culture that is unfair, inequitable and placing vulnerable children at risk; to one, which places the ‘child’s best interests’, needs and vulnerability at the heart of the assessment.

To download a copy of the report, go to http://bit.ly/oghXrO.