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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Call for outcry over asylum raid
Vucaj Family
The Vucaj family have lived in Glasgow for almost five years
The Children's Commissioner for Scotland has called for a "public outcry" over the handling of asylum seeking families facing deportation.

It follows a dawn raid on the Glasgow home of a Kosovar family who had their asylum application turned down.

Kathleen Marshall said: "I'm asking the people of Scotland to shout with me, do they think that this is acceptable?"

The Vucaj family were taken from their home in Glasgow on Tuesday, with the children reportedly still in pyjamas.

Eye-witnesses said they had seen the father and a son in handcuffs.

A petition has been organised at Drumchapel High School to try to stop the deportation of Saida Vucaj, 13, and her brothers Nimet, 16, and Elvis, 18.

Their parents, Isen and Nexhi Vucaj are said to be on medication for various illnesses.

Human rights

Professor Marshall said "serious questions must be asked about the fact that our processes are allowing this sort of thing to happen in Scotland".

She told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "The argument is not whether a country should have control over its borders, but I argue about the way in which they do it.

"What is happening here sounds like a clear breach of human rights to me.

"There must be alternative ways of dealing with this than traumatising children and families in this way."

Kathleen Marshall
Kathleen Marshall: "I argue about the way they do it"

She added: "I have been outspoken in the past but I don't have the power to change this alone.

"I'm asking the people of Scotland to shout with me, do they think that this is acceptable?"

Earlier this month, she accused the state of "terrorising children of failed asylum seekers by carrying out dawn raids".

Such treatment was "inhumane" and she said it was "wee, quiet families" that were suffering because they were easy targets for the Home Office.

'Well integrated'

The Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said all three of their children had been integrated well at St Brendan's Primary and Drumchapel High School, were other pupils are said to have been in tears after hearing of Tuesday's incident.

The boys were good rugby players while Saida took part in the school's carnival arts group, attending festivals and pageants in the city.

The family were told to report to the Immigration Centre in Brand Street at the end of August, at which point they feared they would be sent back to Kosovo or Albania.

Saida Vucaj, pictured at a local carnival last weekend
Saida Vucaj, pictured at a local carnival last weekend

Immigration officers arrived at their home on Tuesday morning to take them into detention.

The family's neighbour, Andy Fitton, said he was shocked by the force of the operation.

He told BBC Scotland: "You've got police and Home Office officials literally kicking your door down and dragging your children out of bed.

"To have it happening right next door to a family that you know well is horrific. I can't believe that this sort of thing happens."

Handcuffs claim

Jasmine Mohoub, 15, who also saw the operation, said: "They took the big brother, he is the oldest one, they took him with the handcuffs, and the father as well.

"The girl was in her pyjamas and they grabbed her all the way, until they took her on the bus."

Amanda Boyce, a friend of the family, was angry at the treatment of the Vucajs.

The government has made it clear it will take a robust approach to removing people from the country who have no legal right to be here
Home Office

She said: "They knew it was coming, but not the way that it happened.

"Ripping someone out a home at that time in the morning when they are still in bed, it's not right."

Following Tuesday's operation, a Home Office spokesman said: "We do not comment on individual cases.

"All asylum claims are given full and careful consideration. Failed asylum seekers who have no right to remain in this country and who have not chosen to leave voluntarily will be removed.

"The government has made it clear it will take a robust approach to removing people from the country who have no legal right to be here.

"This is always done in the most sensitive way possible, treating those being removed with courtesy and dignity.

"Detention is an essential element in the effective enforcement of immigration control in particular of our removals strategy.

"We believe that in almost all circumstances the best interests of children are served in being with their parents."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Jamie McIvor reports on the eviction



SEE ALSO:
Deportation 'terrorises children'
01 Sep 05 |  Scotland


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