03 April 2007

Asylum For AIDS Victims

AIDS Orphans (Credit: USC Annenberg)Twenty suspected HIV-positive children of failed asylum seekers are due to be deported, according to Martin Narey, the chief executive of the leading children's charity Barnardo’s.

While Mr Narey claims deporting the children would be to send them to their deaths, the Home Office says that "We are not convinced that a special dispensation should be made for victims of HIV. It could create inconsistencies in how we treat people with other serious illnesses."

Do readers think compassion should outweigh other criteria used to determine such cases, or would it merely risk opening the floodgates for others who are sick to attempt to gain entry to this country and, once here, to be supported by our tax-payer-funded health service?

4 comments:

MikeC said...

I want to confess, that reading this article has jolted me, and made me realise that I too easily respond glibly to policy on immigration. This story challenges me acutely - to re-evaluate on what basis we measure the needs of those seeking asylum in our nation. Our humanity surely dictates that we respond with compassion to those in such need, and these children who are HIV positive are so in need.

And what does it mean to be 'inconsistent'? Allowing them to stay wouldn't be 'inconsistent' (which seems to me to be a term devoid of emotion), but a simple decision based on the needs of the children. Hiding behind such a bland statement, that really doesn't say anything at all about what should really be careful decision making, is cheap and cowardly.

Kevin said...

What about the two teenage asylum seekers due to be deported last Sunday, who were kept locked up at Yarls Wood detention centre after their mother collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Are they going to get to stay now, just because the mother fell ill?

MikeC said...

I'm not declaring a policy belief by way of the following comment...

... but, can I be provocative, and ask why not? Are we so intent on encouraging a large and anonymous state, that we are unable to offer neighbourly help to those who need it? Are we so lacking in compassion that we cannot see past the statistics, and realise that ultimately all these big headlines actually come down to individuals, their families, and relationships?

Kevin said...

Next someone will be suggesting that rejected asylum seekers should be allowed to stay and work ... oh, I see Sayeeda Warsi has already done so!