Scotland's Big Issue focuses on detention centre

The Big Issue in Scotland has launched a campaign to draw attention to the plight of asylum seekers at Dungavel detention centre, after claiming the story has dropped off the news agenda in Scotland, writes Sarah Boden.

The asylum centre has been condemned by politicians, church leaders, trade unions and the English prisons inspectorate for keeping families, including children, locked up.

News editor Graham Martin said initial widespread coverage by Scottish papers about Dungavel had waned, despite children still being housed at the centre.

With its Dungavel Watch campaign, the magazine will feature a story on the South Lanarkshire centre each week. “We’ve launched this to keep it in the spotlight.

Stories do move on but for us this is still a live issue,” said Martin.

“Ultimately we, and the majority of people in Scotland, don’t want to see kids locked up. We’ll keep going for as long as it takes.”

MSPs from across the political divides have spoken out in support of the campaign, including SNP leader John Swinney, Labour’s Elaine Smith and the Scottish Greens’ Patrick Harvie. Scottish Socialist Party MSP Rosie Kane said: “I am 101 per cent behind this very important campaign.

The Home Office has not moved and changed its position – yet. The pressure has to be kept up.”

The weekly magazine started the campaign with three testimonies written by children at the centre.

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