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Lottie

UK ' Violating Childrens Rights '

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The government is failing to protect the human rights of vulnerable children, according to a new study.

Ministers were failing "to embrace human rights and equality for children", the Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) said.

Jaap Doek, chair of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, said the UK imprisons more children than "most other industrialised countries".

A Home Office spokeswoman said custody was only used as a "last resort".

Mr Doek told the BBC's Today programme: "The UK, with the US and some other countries, is heading the pack of countries when it comes to the level of children in custody.

"It is a reflection of the problems that quite a number of countries in Europe have with juvenile delinquency."

He said "urgent action" was needed "to remedy the plight of children in custody".

"Two children have died in custody this year, many children are officially classed as too vulnerable for Prison Service custody, and there are continuing and grave concerns about children's access to education, health care and child protection," he said.

The CRAE report added that progress had been made in only 17 of 78 recommendations made to the UK two years ago by the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mr Doek said the UK was also lagging behind on prohibiting violence against children, but that its record on child poverty was "not bad at all".

Controversial new policy

A Home Office spokeswoman rejected claims that current policy on detention breached the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

She said: "Preventing offending as early as possible ensures that young people are able to play a full and active role in society as they develop into adulthood.

"Carefully chosen interventions are used by the courts to prevent and reduce reoffending and custody is used as a last resort.

"The government takes the safety of juveniles in custody very seriously."

Opposition by MPs

A new policy for the treatment of asylum seeker families to be introduced on 1 December could increase the number of children in care.

Under the new rules, immigration officials will be able to withdraw all support to failed applicants who have exhausted their legal appeals.

This in turn may lead to the children of these applicants being taken from their parents and placed in local authority care.

A coalition of charities, campaigners and MPs vehemently opposed the proposal when it was debated in Parliament.

They predict it will be both inhumane and potentially an enormous burden to local social services.

The Home Office says it is a policy of last resort against those who flout the law.

A spokeswoman said that children are only detained in relevant asylum seeker cases when it is considered in their best interests to remain with their family.

"Cases involving families with children in detention are dealt with as quickly as possible and are subject to frequent review to ensure that the period of detention is kept to a minimum.

"The government remains firmly committed to ensuring the protection of all children - including asylum seeking children."

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Jaap Doek, chair of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, said the UK imprisons more children than "most other industrialised countries".

Tell the little scum bags to stop breaking the law then.

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