SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has challenged the UK Government after 200 asylum seeking children went missing from contingency accommodation.
Ms Hanna asked an urgent question on the issue in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
She said she was particularly concerned by the matter, given the significant number of asylum seekers living within her constituency.
South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:
“The news that 200 asylum seeking children have gone missing from hotels run by the Home Office is shocking and really concerning, but it is the result of an asylum system that the UK Government and the Home Office have let descend into chaos, with little care or compassion for those seeking asylum or what becomes of them.
"It is inconceivable that one child, let alone 200, could go missing without sending alarm bells ringing at the heart of government and forcing ministers to ask themselves serious questions about their current policies and their impact on people.
“Asylum seekers and their children right across the UK are suffering as their rights and needs are ignored. I have seen it first-hand in my own constituency of South Belfast where children face struggles in accessing education, play space and are prevented from living a normal family life.
“I have repeatedly highlighted the unsuitable conditions that many asylum seekers face when living in hotels, especially for those with young children who are moving to a new country and facing a difficult adjustment. The UK Government and Home Office needs to stop demonising asylum seekers and face up to its responsibilities by providing a humane system for those fleeing unimaginable hardship and seeking refuge across these islands.”