During this project I met young refugees and asylum-seekers via the Refugee Council, and documented their everyday experiences – from playing cricket, to a journey to the Royal Courts of Justice to defend their claim to be under the age of 18. My work aims to allow people a glimpse of these young people’s lives – the isolation and challenges they experience in their daily lives here in the UK.
The Head of Children’s Section at the Refugee Council said the following:
‘every year thousands of unaccompanied children who claim asylum in the UK have their age disputed by the Home Office and some local authorities and are treated as adults.
‘The majority of these children come from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia often after making long, treacherous journeys on which many will have gone without food or drink for days at a time.’
‘There is too often an over-reliance on physical appearance and credibility as indicators of age. coupled with poor practice and a prevailing culture of cynicism and disbelief among immigration officers and some social workers, many children are wrongly classified as adults.’
‘Through the Children’s Panel, the Refugee Council works to ensure that children who are subject to immigration controls are treated as children first and foremost and have their needs met accordingly.’
You can find out more by visiting the Refugee Council website – they do great work, and need more support. And a big thank you to Cristiana Camcam and Francesco Jeff for all their help in making this project happen.