Suella Braverman's Treatment Of Child Asylum Seekers Ruled Unlawful

Home secretary suffers another defeat in the High Court over the government's migration policies.
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Suella Braverman’s “routine” placing of unaccompanied child asylum seekers in hotels is unlawful, the High Court has ruled.

In a decision on Thursday morning, the court said the home secretary had “exceeded” her powers as children should only be housed in this way for “very short periods in true emergency situations”.

The case was brought by Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT).

Patricia Durr, the charity’s chief executive, said the ruling “powerfully” reaffirmed existing law that children could not be treated differently because of their immigration status.

“We will continue to defend the rights of every child in the UK to live free from exploitation and access the care they are entitled to under the law,” she said.

In it’s ruling, the High Court said: “The home secretary’s provision of hotel accommodation for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children exceeded the proper limits of her powers and was unlawful.

“The practice of accommodating children in hotels, outside local authority care, was both systematic and routine and had become an established part of the procedure for dealing with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

“It cannot be used systematically or routinely in circumstances where it is intended, or functions in practice, as a substitute for local authority care.

It is the latest in a string of legal defeats for the home secretary over the government’s migration policies.

On Monday the High Court ruled Braverman had acted unlawfully by failing to give basic help to asylum seekers.

The government had been refusing to give payments of just £3 a week to ensure children aged one to three and pregnant women had healthy meals.

Last month the government also suffered a defeat in the Court of Appeal when it ruled its plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.

The scheme is a key part of Rishi Sunak’s hopes of fulfilling his pledge to “stop the boats” crossing the channel.

But the policy has faced legal challenges from campaign groups who warned Rwanda is not a safe third country for people to be sent.

In its ruling, the court said this was not because Rwanda itself was unsafe, but because there was “real risk” people deported there would then be sent back to their home county where they faced “persecution or other inhumane treatment”.

But the policy may still go ahead, as the government will appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court.


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