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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Dawn asylum raids 'will continue'
Protest in Glasgow
Protesters have called for an end to dawn raids on asylum seekers
The Home Office has refused to stop carrying out dawn raids to remove failed asylum seekers from Scotland.

Immigration Minister Tony McNulty has defended the tactics, despite widespread condemnation - including protests by executive ministers.

There was an outcry when the Vucaj family were taken from their home in Glasgow last month in a dawn raid.

But the Home Office is fighting back, with Mr McNulty accusing critics of using "intemperate" language.

The Vucaj family had lived in Glasgow for five years before being deported to Albania.

'Heavy-handed'

Actor Peter Mullan and human rights campaigner Robina Qureshi are fighting for their return to Scotland.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm has described the family's treatment as "totally unnecessary, heavy-handed and over the top".

Scotland's Children's Commissioner, Professor Kathleen Marshall, claimed that dawn raids on failed asylum seekers were "traumatising children and families".

Tony McNulty
It is an easy target for people but I think some of the language and criticism has been over the top and pretty intemperate
Tony McNulty
Immigration Minister

But in an interview for the BBC's Politics Show, Mr McNulty flatly rejected the commissioner's claims that the raids were inhumane.

First Minister Jack McConnell has called for social workers to be consulted on future removals, but Mr McNulty insisted that this already happens.

He said the Home Office was happy to talk about improving procedures but would not rule out using dawn raids.

He said a risk assessment was carried out by the immigration service before anyone was removed.

"We are not knocking down doors at four in the morning with people suited and booted in riot gear," he said.

Risk assessment

The minister said that most of the removals took place between 0530 and 0700 BST.

"The immigration officers wear stab vests, that is part of the risk assessment, and when they need to restrain they do.

"These are not happy occasions for the families involved and they are full of risks for the immigration service.

Tony McNulty and his colleagues should be ashamed of the way in which they have treated fellow human beings
Rosie Kane
Scottish Socialist MSP

"It is an easy target for people but I think some of the language and criticism has been over the top and pretty intemperate."

Ms Marshall defended her suggestion that families had been "terrorised" by the dawn raids.

"I picked that word 'terror' up specifically from the language that children and young people who have been affected by this or witnessed it have used to me," she said.

Scottish Socialist Party MSP Rosie Kane renewed her condemnation of the dawn raids.

"I'm sure that if the Home Office were to visit Mr McNulty in the night he too would be guilty of intemperate language," she said.

The Scottish Executive and the Home Office must start to work together - and fast - so that the rights of children in Scotland are protected
Patrick Harvie
Green MSP

"Entire communities of men, women and children who have already fled horrendous conditions in their own countries are now living in fear in this country, thanks to the terror tactics of the Home Office.

"Tony McNulty and his colleagues should be ashamed of the way in which they have treated fellow human beings."

The Scottish National Party's depute leader, Nicola Sturgeon, said the ball was now in Mr McConnell's court.

"He was right to criticise the Home Office for their appalling and inhumane tactic of dawn raids, but as we are discovering talk is cheap," she said.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: "The Scottish Executive and the Home Office must start to work together - and fast - so that the rights of children in Scotland are protected."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the minister defend the Home Office's tactics



SEE ALSO:
Supporters visit deported family
10 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Asylum seeker treatment protest
01 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Dawn raid furore family deported
29 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Asylum debate brings lobby pledge
22 Sep 05 |  Scotland
McConnell seeking asylum protocol
22 Sep 05 |  Scotland


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