“We urgently need an asylum system that sees refugee children as children” – HIAS+JCORE sign joint statement on the findings of the borders inspectorate report

Graphic with a blue background and white text, with HIAS+JCORE's logo in the bottom right hand corner. The graphic reads:

HIAS+JCORE has joined with 20 organisations, including the Refugee Council, British Association of Social Workers and the Children’s Society, in signing an open statement calling for a wide-ranging independent inquiry into the treatment of unaccompanied children seeking sanctuary in the UK.

You can read the full statement text below, and coverage of the intervention in the Guardian

One of the 13 reports by the independent borders inspectorate finally released last week details a series of disturbing findings about unaccompanied children seeking asylum, including the appalling revelation that they were forced to play a game which involved them guessing who would be the next one to be placed in foster care. This is distressing and dystopian.

In our work with refugee children, we repeatedly see how they are being failed. Hundreds of unaccompanied children missing from hotels still have not been found. Children systematically wrongly age-assessed are treated as adults and placed in the same bedrooms as unrelated adult strangers. There is a culture of callous disregard for children’s basic right to dignity.

It is time for the government to carry out a wide-ranging independent inquiry into the treatment of unaccompanied children who come to our country seeking safety. We urgently need to see a fundamental change towards an asylum system that is fair, humane and protects those who are some of the most vulnerable children in the country, an asylum system that sees refugee children as children who need loving care and support.


Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council
Patricia Durr, CEO, ECPAT UK
Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive, British Association of Social Workers
Sarah Thomas, CEO, The Fostering Network
Zoe Bantleman, Legal Director, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA)
Gunes Kalkan, Head of Campaigns, Safe Passage International
Azmina Siddique, Policy and Impact Manager, The Children’s Society
Elaine Ortiz, Founder and Director, Hummingbird Refugee Project
Nick Watts, Director, Together with Migrant Children
Amos Schonfield, CEO, Our Second Home
Gee Manoharan, Co-Director, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
Celia Sands, CEO, South London Refugee Association
Adrian Matthews, Trustee, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign 
David Mason, Executive Director, HIAS+JCORE
Rosalyn Akar Grams, Managing Director of Legal Practice and Children’s Rights, Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Anna Skehan, Supervising Solicitor and Legal Practice Lead, Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU)
Dr Helen Connolly, Associate Professor, Children, Youth and Forced Migration, University of Bedfordshire