• June 1, 2015


There has been a large protest at the Dungavel immigration removal centre at South Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Over 400 protesters from religious groups, trade unions and human rights bodies gathered outside the centre yesterday. The President of the Scottish Trade Union Council, Lawrence Mawson, told the protesters:

“We want to see an end to detention. We want to see a different, more humane immigration system, and we want to see the UK living up to its global responsibilities and providing safe haven for those who need it.

The people behind these walls are not a threat to our country. They are just people looking for a better life. We can have an asylum system without the need for detention.”

The Celtic League has also expressed its opposition to the Centre and particularly the practice of holding children there. We believe the term ‘Centre’ is just a euphemism for Prison which in fact is what Dungavel is.

In August 2003 the Celtic League wrote to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child saying:

“I write to express the concern of the Celtic League at the policy of the United Kingdom government in relation to the treatment of children of immigrants seeking political asylum at Dungavel in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The centre has been the subject of considerable focus recently with rights groups, political bodies and immigrant support groups expressing concern. “

This week it was also the focus of a critical report from the United Kingdoms Chief Inspector of Prisons, Ann Owers, who expressed concern about the detention of children at the centre.

“I request the Committee, as a matter of urgency, to enquire into the circumstances of those young people detained in Dungavel and similar immigration removal centres as part of asylum process.

I also urge the Committee to press the United Government to behave in a more humane and less degrading manner towards those people who seek asylum in the United Kingdom.”

The UK ceased detaining children at the Centre in 2010.

In early May 2015 we wrote to the UK Border Agency expressing concern for the well-being of those in the Centre, some of whom have been held for over a year.

Last week the Immigration Enforcement section of the Home Office responded and said that just under 200 people were detained at the centre (as of 31st December 2014).

They also confirmed that medical staff at the centre are not trained to apply the methodology set out in the (UN) Istanbul Protocol, something we had specifically queried (see links):

Dungavel: Home Office Respond on Istanbul Protocol Query

Dungavel: Questions from League to UK Border Agency

The Celtic League will raise the issue of the failure of the United Kingdom to implement the Istanbul Protocol with the UNHCHR

Related link on BBC website here.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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