Jewish campaigners attack UK asylum seeker treatment

By Leon Symons, February 25, 2010

Three Jewish human rights leaders and three rabbis have launched an attack in a national newspaper on the way the government treats the children of asylum seekers.

Their action followed a report by the Children's Commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, which highlighted the arrest and transportation procedures children had to undergo and the living conditions at Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire.

The signatories were Dr Edie Friedman, director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality; Hannah Weisfeld, chair, Jewish Social Action Forum; Sarah Kaiser, director, CCJO RenéCassin; Rabbi Alexandra Wright, senior rabbi, Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John's Wood; Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, New London Synagogue and Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, North Western Reform Synagogue.

In a joint letter to the Guardian, the six said: "Which one of us would not be horrified if it was our child who had seen her mother and father arrested at dawn by police, been separated from both parents for many hours, taken in a car by uniformed men to a building surrounded by barbed wire, and locked up? And that's without even considering what traumas this child may have already experienced before coming to the UK."

Last updated: 4:24pm, February 25 2010