Re: Public health and human rights must be prioritised over inhumane immigration policies

Agreement: 
I Agree
Body: 

Dear Editor

All human beings have human rights, whether they are sat at a desk in the Home Office or in a sinking rubber boat at Sea. The UK’s ill treatment of migrants described by Stevens and Ciftci [1] is the cumulative consequence of the Hostile Environment policy introduced in 2013, with official “hostility” to foreigners grown worse after Brexit. The public health of the adult prison population also worsened [2] even before the Covid pandemic hit. However, in relation to the present, inhumane conditions, my greatest concern is for the health of children and adolescents. Past experience taught me unaccompanied children were the most vulnerable to harm. Recent film of children crossing the Channel implied few if any look like the native, British White, population. Early experience [3] of hostility, rejection and helplessness are especially destructive – unless we reach out to welcome these most fragile arrivals.

[1] Stevens A., Ciftci Y. Public health and human rights must be prioritised over inhumane immigration policies. BMJ 2022;379:o2709

[2] Cassidy J, Caan W. Lessons for commissioning and health outcomes from Her Majesty’s Prison Birmingham. Journal of Public Mental Health 2018; 17; 224-227.

[3] Caan W. Structural racism causes cumulative harm across the lifespan. BMJ 2021;373:n1341

No competing Interests: 
No competing interests
The following competing Interests: 
In the past I have worked: in various Custody settings, in Asylum seeker services, in Child Health, and I developed a special interest in the mental health of Displaced Persons in various settings (e.g. Caan W. An unhealthy planet creates climate refugees. So What? 2017; 9: 6-7). 
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Electronic Publication Date: 
Monday, November 14, 2022 – 15:38
Workflow State: 
Released
Full Title: 

Re: Public health and human rights must be prioritised over inhumane immigration policies

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Last Name: 
Caan
First name and middle initial: 
Woody
Address: 
Duxford, Cambridge
Occupation: 
Retired professor of public health
BMJ: Additional Article Info: 
Rapid response

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