Boys' Brigade young African leaders "denied entry to UK"
The Boys' Brigade describes itself as the oldest uniformed youth organisation in the world. It has more than half a million members and ranks the Queen as its official patron… but its young members from Africa are "being barred from entering the UK".
All 19 young leaders from African countries who were due to attend an international leadership workshop next week have been refused visas by the UK Border Agency, according to the organisation.
The vice president of the Boys' Brigade UK, Matt Smith, says the organisation has never had problems with people not going back to their countries of origin after visiting the UK. He tells Newsday about his "shock" and "deep embarrassment" at being unable to host young people who had been selected for outstanding contributions to their communities.
The Home Office issued the following statement: "Groups wishing to visit the UK need to be able to provide key information to demonstrate that they here for valid reasons, such as evidence to show they can financially support themselves, they are entitled to travel, and any minors are travelling with parental consent. If they fail to show this, then they will not be granted a visit."