PRESS RELEASE – Charter Flight/Cargo Flight tomorrow illustrates new Home Office removal tactics.
Just as the UK Home Office is forced to scrap its inhumane Detainee Fast Track system alternative methods to mass deport are being used.
Chartered flights were previously filled with refused asylum seekers on the Detainee Fast Track system which has been ruled as unlawful. One of the reasons for this ruling was because of lacking access to adequate legal representation. The Home Office are now targeting another group; individuals with connections to the same countries but with families, established private lives and children; individuals who have been here for most of their lives. Many of these individuals have British Citizenship that has been revoked; one has never been to Africa and was born in Belgium. His caseworker claims that a negotiation with the Nigerian High Commission led to a promise that travel documents would be issued.
Hundreds of individuals previously released on bail and temporary admission have been detained in the last two to three weeks in a deliberate act to organise mass deportations to West African. Tomorrow a privately chartered flight is set to leave London Stansted at 22:30hrs for Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leonne and Liberia (Note: flights to Sierra Leonne and Liberia have previously been halted because of the Ebola outbreak and ongoing spread).
Others will be dropped in one of these countries and continue on commercial flights to neighbouring countries such as Gabon. These charter flights not only cost hundreds of thousands of pounds they are operating unlawfully and under the guise of threats of violence by guards and escorts. Travel documents for many individuals have not been gained; one detainee was told this did not matter because it was a charter flight and they would get the travel document once he was in his home country.
From speaking with a number of detainees set to be deported via charter tomorrow is has become clear that similar barriers to accessing justice as those previously on Fast Track exist. For many this is a result of lacking access to legal representation/legal aid to argue their established private and families lives (Article 8). Furthermore, the fact that Judicial Reviews no longer mean the suspension of a pending removal means that even where errors of law have been made by the Home Office there is no means to seek rectification. It is clear the Home Office is deliberately using its power to change laws to limit those that most need legal protection.
We are in contact with a number of individuals set for be deported tomorrow via this cargo style method. Many examples below illustrate the unlawful nature of a number of these removals, lacking access to justice and individuals’ terror and desperation at the prospect of being separated from established lives in the UK.
For more information contact:
The Unity Centre Glasgow
Individual Cases and Quotes:
George still has the right of appeal for his EEA application. His partner who is an EU citizen is 3 months pregnant with his baby. They have put in the correct paperwork. His application was refused on the 21st of July and he was granted an in country right of appeal. These need to be submitted within 14 days. He has until the 4th of August to submit this yet he has been given a ticket for tomorrow’s charter flight.
George says ‘I have been here for 11 years and I just don’t know what to do. I have no where else to go and I am not leaving my fiancee.’
Fred (not real name) who has been here since he was 11 years old is to be deported to Sierra Leonne where there is still an Ebola outbreak and people are not allowed to fly in or out. Fred is being deported based on information gained by ”Operation Nexus” an agreement made between the Metropolitan police and the Home Office. The information gained by this operation is completely speculative and Fred has not been convicted of the information being used to deport him. Fred has never served any jail time, furthermore, he knows no one in Sierra Leonne.
Fred says ”I am 24 years old and I have never been this scared in all my life”.
Tom (not is real name) says: ‘The conditions here are appalling because the way we are being treated is just like animals. They don’t even practice that (human rights) and people need to know about this.’
‘About the flight itself people are going to suffer because you can imagine how they put four different countries in one plane, only god knows where it will land’
‘no body knows the first stop over and no body knows the last one’
‘people have a right to family life and private life in UK and this is another thing to address’
‘in the home office they were saying even though you made a mistake once and that was four years ago you are not a prolifient offender you made one mistake and they are going to punish you’
‘they dont even want to listen’
‘I’ve met my bail conditions and they are still punishing me (after rehabilitation)’
‘They are punishing not just me but the whole family, i cant be bringing up my child through social media or telephone will you be there to chat to your child? This is how they expect me to be a father through social media and skype’
‘The home office are fond of lying’
Roland (not real name) says: ‘I’m a British citizen and the Home Office have revoked my citizenship
fraudulently and still they have held me for over 8 months in detention. I’ve got a daughter and partner who is ill right now and they having a go at me saying why am I leaving them.’
‘I provided them with handwriting evidence which they say is not reliable and the original documents are with the Home Office but they refuse to investigate, they refuse to release the documents for an investigation to even be done’.
‘I’ve been depressed, I’ve been thinking about even about committing suicide’
‘i can’t live without my daughter she’s my everything she’s my world’
‘MP says its not for him to investigate’
‘I’ve lived here all my life i don’t know anyone back home, i have my cousins here, my family here, I’ve got no one back home.’
‘They dont have travel documents but one officer told me that they are going to Ghana to get the travel documents, he said it doesn’t matter about travel documents because it’s a charter’.
‘My kids all of them are worried and my wife now they’re ill now because of the situation’
David (not his real name) has an EEA application pending based on his mothers european citizenship, no initial decision has been given. This application was submitted long before he was detained. He was detained two weeks ago and given a ticket. He has a British partner who is pregnant.
David says: ‘I cant believe that they wont even let me see my daughter being born…I havnt committed any crime in the UK’.
Steven (not real name) says: ‘it is evil that is the only adjective i can use to describe what is happening. People have families here they have children here, they pay their taxes, they pay everything, now because of one silly thing they want to take peoples right of being with their family. It is evil, it is malicious, it is not even something you can think about it. What the home office is doing is appalling, seriously. it is nothing short of evil.
‘How can they take you away with pending Judicial Review that was accepted earlier in the year, now 6 months later they brought another ticket like in my case they battered them to say its unduly harsh’
‘Saying I can Skype, that is very irrational’
‘My cell mate his girlfriend is heavily pregnant and they don’t let him to be with her and help her’.
Anthony (not his real name) has a wife and child in the UK who have the right to remain. They cannot return with him as they are from a completely different country. By trying to provide for his family he was convicted for working. The Home Office state he is being deported due to posing a risk to society. He was detained on his birthday after meeting all required conditions of release.
Anthony says: ‘I’m suffering injustice here, I have a 2 1/2 year old son, everytime i call my wife my son is crying”
‘In 2010 I was imprisoned for looking for work, I served my time. I was granted temporary admission from 2011.
I reported every week religiously, I never breached any condition. I am not risk to the public, not a danger to the public.” On the 10th July my wife prepared for my birthday celebrations, I went to report and the next thing they did is to just detain me.’
‘I have an outstanding application, the Home Office never responded to my letter. They gave me an in country right of appeal, they asked for further reasons. I was expecting the Home Office to respond, they didn’t and that was unlawful. The next thing is they detained me and quickly gave me a ticket.’
‘I mean I’ve got a family settled in Britain…is very disheartening that a country that preaches human rights all over the world can do this…how can u split me from my family? If u look at proportionality …… its too disproportionate’
‘I’m hoping tomorrow the judge in court will see, they are supposed to be independent, God will let him see’
‘In here (detention) there is a very strategic way of slowing you down, it’s not like when you are outside, the fax is slow, it says it has been delivered but its not delivered. A strategic way to deny people their rights, its wrong, its unlawful, its a disgrace to deny people their family, its a disgrace…they are so disgusting.’
”We lost a baby in 2008, we visit the burial site regularly. They are trying to take me away from this’
”How can you go around the world preaching what you cant practice, making a business out of people what kind of country is this?”