New concerns about the plight of thousands of refugees living in UK hotels have emerged after a council asked for the Home office closed temporary shelters housing refugee children on “protection concerns” and a lawyer revealed how he had been prevented from judging unaccompanied minors.

Brighton and Hove City Council has asked the Home Office to stop using a hotel with numerous refugee children, claiming that an initial risk or protection assessment for Covid-19 has not been carried out. Meanwhile, a law firm said attempts to investigate a 15-year-old Afghans who were detained in a hotel had been prevented in violation of the rights of the child, while other unaccompanied minors were threatened with “unlawful detention”.

The developments raise further questions over the 15,000 refugees – including 7,000 Afghans – currently staying in hotels after families were hastily evacuated from Kabul last month.

Around 70 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are in hotels, 16 of which are under 16 years of age. MEPs on the Special Committee of Home Affairs expressed skepticism last week about whether such placement would be appropriate for children traveling alone to the UK.

Councilor Hannah Clare, Chair of Brighton’s Children, Youth and Skills Committee, said the council had urged the Home Office to stop using a hotel near Hove after concerns about the well-being of children and anger about it arose that the local authority was given less than 24 hours notice of the government’s intention.

“We are of the opinion that the use of the site by the home office must be stopped for this purpose. They dumped a lot of children there with no Covid risk assessment and no protection, ”said Clare. She added that dealing with the Home Office was uncomfortable, although they eventually managed to get council officials into the hotels. “Working from home was very difficult the whole time. It has taken a lot of pressure from our officials to get them to do things [to support the children]. “

She believed the government’s approach exacerbated the trauma of child refugees arriving in the UK, many of them crossed the canal in a small boat.

So far, more migrants have crossed the English Channel in small boats in September – nearly 4,000 – than any other month since the crossings became popular. Last Wednesday alone, 459 migrants were intercepted on 14 boats.

Stuart Luke, principal attorney at InstaLaw, said unaccompanied minors were effectively detained in hotels for advising them not to leave the premises. “You are de facto imprisoned. We have so many young people who have been incarcerated who are now entitled to unlawful detention, ”he said.

Last week, a report used in hotels of the Ministry of Interior for housing asylum seekers said they were related to detention centers with often inferior accommodation.

Luke added that his company had received a referral for a 15-year-old unaccompanied minor detained at a Kent hotel, but officials had prevented him from evaluating the child. “We were there and they refused us entry. They have been detained and are clearly not being held children Act accommodation they were in a hotel, ”said Luke, also a trustee of the Kurdish Umbrella charity.

When he asked to take the teenager outside, the officers refused. “They effectively denied them access to a lawyer, which clearly violates their human rights.” Ultimately, the lawyer did not meet the child and has no idea what happened to him.

Elsewhere, questions have surfaced about an organization apparently appointed by the Interior Ministry in July – albeit without a tendering process – to support refugee children in the hotels.

The Company, Greater good global, has raised the eyebrows of many long-standing refugee groups, with some questioning his previous experience of assisting unaccompanied minors.

When asked about the appointment process and relevant experience, Krish Kandiah, CEO of Greater Good Global said, “I was personally asked as a carer and former director of a care and adoption organization to see what voluntary emergency assistance could be offered to unaccompanied teenage asylum seekers that are accommodated in hotel accommodation.

He added: “I really wanted to find any help for young people in need.”

However, some groups of refugees have written to the Special Committee on Home Affairs asking it to investigate the company’s attitude.

A Home Office spokesman said: In a critical and urgent situation, the home office can contact a number of organizations to see if they can provide short-term support. Due diligence is carried out on all potential providers before they are entrusted with the provision of services to the Ministry of the Interior. “

They added that they were aware of an incident in which a person who claimed to be representing a child who was staying in a hotel was refused entry. “The person was unable to provide any documentation to show that their services were used,” it said in a statement.

It added: We take the protection of unaccompanied asylum seekers very seriously and have taken precautions to meet their welfare needs. “