The immigration service apparently alleged that it didn’t know one of the mothers, a turkish woman, was breastfeeding, despite the fact interview records showed she had informed officers of the fact. Following this and another case involving a Vietnamese woman, new guidance was issued stating that:
“breastfeeding children should not be separated from their mothers unless there are compelling and exceptional circumstances which indicate that this may be appropriate…the same approach should be taken to the separation of any young children from their mothers, regardless of whether they were breastfeeding…any decision to separate young children from mothers can only be taken at the level of IND assistant director.”
It’s worth noting that for both the cases the decision to remove and detain the women was suspect. Mrs P, the turkish woman, was married to a refugee who had been granted asylum over here and so the decision to remove was premature. Mrs N, the Vietnamese woman, was married to a UK citizen who was the father of her child (for more information see here).
The new case revolves around a Ugandan woman who has been separated from her four week old son and year old daughter for two weeks. She has also been refused a breast pump to relieve her pain and continue to lactate. Yarls Wood, where the woman is being held, refused to comment on individual cases.