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Experts look at the challenges of border control and child protection, 02/11/12 [W]

Experts on children in the asylum system and child protection are coming together in Cardiff next week to look at how to improve the care and protection of young asylum seekers and suspected child victims of trafficking in Wales. Children in the asylum process face not only bewilderment and confusion due to a complicated asylum system, but also barriers to social inclusion. These can include linguistic difficulties, isolation, pre- and post- flight trauma, cultural and institutional pre-conceptions, asylum phobia, racism, inappropriate accommodation, and potential exploitation and safeguarding risks from ‘accepted’ cultural or institutional practices that construct asylum-seeking children as somehow different to other children in Wales.

Delegates will come together at a conference organised jointly by the Welsh Refugee Council and Children in Wales to look at practical ways to help protect children in the asylum system and examples of things that have really worked from across the UK.

Mike Lewis, Chief Executive, Welsh Refugee Council:

“We are delighted to be holding this conference in partnership with Children in Wales.  The Welsh Refugee Council is acutely aware of how concerns about immigration status or cultural practices often mean that the children we work with remain unseen, unheard and hidden outside of society’s protective mechanisms, and at risk of significant harm. The programme provides something for everyone regardless of current knowledge or expertise and a warm welcome will be extended to all participants – I look forward to meeting you all”.

Sean O’Neill, Policy Director at Children in Wales said: “This conference, hosted by Children in Wales in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council provides participants with an opportunity to understand more about the challenges of child protection and border control.  Asylum seeking children and young people should be seen as children first and migrant second, and should be entitled to the same level of support and protection which we would look to provide any other child in Wales. Keeping asylum seeking children safe from harm requires a multi agency response and should be seen as one of our central priorities.  This event aims to help facilitate further dialogue and share expert knowledge on how we can improve our response to those most vulnerable.”




1.        The conference Children in the Asylum Process – The Challenge of Border Control and Child Protection will take place on 7 November 2012, Park Inn,  Cardiff.  Speakers include:

·         Clare Tudor, Scottish Refugee Council – The Scottish Guardianship Project

·         Judith Dennis, British Refugee Council, Age assessment

·         Dr Simon Hoffman, Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People – The UNCRC legal duty and implications for young asylum seekers

·         Mwenya Chimba, Black Association of Women Step Out (BAWSO) Female Genital Mutilation

Plus workshops on:

·         Child Protection

·         Safe Accommodation

·         Assessment

·         Play

2.        Children in Wales is the national umbrella organisation for voluntary, statutory and professional organisations and individuals who work with children and young people in Wales. www.childreninwales.org.uk. Children in Wales was established in March 1992 and became a registered charity in 1993.  It aims to promote the interests of children, to improve services in Wales and to put children high on the Welsh agenda.  We work closely with our members who comprise professionals, policy makers and consumer groups to improve the lives of all children living in Wales, but especially young children, those affected by family instability, children with special needs or disabilities, and those suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation.  We collect and disseminate information about children and promote good practice in children’s services through research, policy and practice development, publications, conferences, seminars, training and access to an extensive library and information service.  Children in Wales has offices in Cardiff and Caernarfon

3.         The Welsh Refugee Council has over twenty-one years experience of working with refugees, asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers. It provides confidential and independent advice services across Wales, advocates for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, supports capacity building for refugee community organisations, and promotes good community relations.  Its vision is to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are safe, and that they get the support they need to rebuild their lives in Wales.

The Welsh Refugee Council’s work is guided by the core principle that the right to seek asylum is a fundamental right as stated in the1951 UN Convention- an international standard that has provided the essential protection to save hundreds and thousands of lives since it was established.

4.    To arrange interviews/quotes please contact

Daisy Cole

Phone 02920 489 800 x 143 / 07817333511

E-mail: daisy.cole@welshrefugeecouncil.org.uk