November 15, 2009
UK child migrants apology planned
Gordon Brown is to apologise for the UK's role in sending thousands of its children to former colonies in the 20th century, the BBC has learned.
Under the Child Migrants Programme - which ended just 40 years ago - poor children were sent to a "better life" in Australia, Canada and elsewhere.
Officials are consulting with survivors of the programme so that a statement can be made in the new year.
On Monday, Australia's prime minister will apologise to the 7,000 UK migrants living there for the mistreatment.
He will deliver a national apology to the "Forgotten Australians" and recognise the mistreatment and ongoing suffering of some 500,000 people held in orphanages or children's homes between 1930 and 1970.
As they were compulsorily shipped out of Britain, many of the children were told - wrongly - their parents were dead, and that a more abundant life awaited them.
Many parents did not know their children, aged as young as three, had been sent to Australia.
Care agencies worked with the government to send disadvantaged children to a rosy future and supply what was deemed "good white stock" to a former colony.
In a letter to the chairman of the health select committee this weekend, Mr Brown said "the time is now right" for the UK to apologise for the actions of previous governments.
"It is important that we take the time to listen to the voices of the survivors and victims of these misguided policies," he wrote.
Kevin Barron, chairman of the select committee which looked into what happened, said he was "very pleased" to have received a written commitment from Mr Brown.
"After consultation with organisations directly involved with child migrants we are going to make an apology early in the new year," he said.
Baroness Amos, Britain's high commissioner in Canberra, said an apology was an important part of addressing the damage.
She told the BBC: "We've always said that this was an absolutely shocking period in our history and it's important that there is an apology.
"The trust has campaigned for over 20 years for this kind and degree of recognition. For child migrants, of course, it has been all their lives and for their families.
"This is a moment - a significant moment - in the history of child migration.
The recognition is vital if people are to recover."
*Adult adoptees in America REMAIN stripped of recognition for being withheld the same right as every other American citizen to obtain our original birth certificates. What a day it will be when all 51 states restore that unconditional right to our citizens. We and our children after us deserve this ~ "now is the time". "What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause and fight for the rights of orphans and widows. For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed."Isaiah 1:17,10:1-2,61:8-9