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Sat Feb 9, 2019 05:59PM [Updated: Sat Feb 9, 2019 07:22PM ]
File photo shows a view to the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Center in Bedford, in central England.File photo shows a view to the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Center in Bedford, in central England.

A new report shows that British government authorities have been insisting on detaining asylum seekers who have been designated as “vulnerable and at risk” despite warnings that such policy could increase self-harm and suicide among the migrants.  

The Guardian newspaper said in a Saturday report that only six percent of migrants classified as vulnerable and at particular risk of harm, some 364 of 6,300 individuals, had been released from detention in UK immigration centers.

Under pressure from rights groups, the government introduced Adults at Risk policy in 2016 to keep vulnerable adults out of detention.

An individual classified as he “vulnerable and at risk” under the scheme is one who has been subject to abuse including torture, sexual violence or trafficking or someone whose detention could lead to harm.

Campaigners have slammed government’s lack of care for people at risk in immigration centers, especially at a time when the Home Office (interior ministry) has been embroiled in various scandals suggesting it has been deliberately trying to make immigration into the UK more and more difficult.

They believe migrants classified as vulnerable and at risk could commit self harm and suicide if not released from detention.

“It is unacceptable that survivors of torture and other abuse are kept locked up even when the Home Office has medical and other independent evidence of their vulnerability,” said Sonya Sceats, the chief executive of the charity Freedom from Torture.

The increasing number of revelations about the conditions in UK immigration centers prompted calls earlier this week for the Home Office to be stripped of detention powers as activists said that independent judges should take the responsibility.  

The Home Office said Saturday that it was using immigration detention “sparingly”, with a spokesman defending the policy as an important part of the immigration system. The official also said that the ministry was trying to speed up its efforts to find alternatives to the detention of migrants.

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