The most important card you’ll send this Christmas

Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Church leaders arereminding people to send Christmas greetings to ImmigrationMinister Phil Woolas MP, asking him to end the detention ofchildren in the asylum system.

Last month, the Churches launched One More Card, a campaignencouraging people to add Mr Woolas to their Christmas card list.Eight-year-old Moya is among those who have already sent cards. Inher handmade card she writes: "To Mr Woolas, Happy Christmas andplease stop locking children up in detention." An image of her cardis available here: www.flickr.com/photos/methodistmedia.

Britain is the only country in Europe to lock up the children ofpeople who have had their asylum claims declined and the Churchesare calling on the Government to keep families together.

Paediatricians, GPs and psychiatrists have described childrenseeking sanctuary in the UK as among those most vulnerable insociety, requiring special and humane treatment.

Dr Rosalyn Proops, Officer for Child Protection at the RoyalCollege of Paediatrics and Child Health said; "We are veryconcerned about the health and welfare of children in immigrationdetention. These children are among the most vulnerable in ourcommunities and detention causes unnecessary harm to their physicaland mental health. The current situation is unacceptable and weurge the Government to develop alternatives to detention withoutdelay."

Revd Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United ReformedChurch, Revd David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conferenceand Revd Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Unionof Great Britain have already sent their card and are asking othersto make sure they don't miss the last posting date beforeChristmas.

People should send cards to Phil Woolas MP at the Home Office, 2Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF and can find tips for draftingtheir Christmas message at www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/childrenindetention.