.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, April 23, 2021

More Home Office rule breaking

Once more the government has been caught out in its eagerness to be seen as tough on immigration, with the Guardian revealing that almost half of the Vietnamese migrants forcibly removed from the UK on a Home Office charter flight being understood to have been put on the plane in breach of the Home Office’s own rules.

The paper says twenty-seven Vietnamese nationals were removed on Wednesday on the flight, which took off from Birmingham. It is believed to have been booked with the holiday airline Tui, although the company refused to confirm or deny this. Fourteen were enforced returns and 13 were voluntary departures.

But, according to an email from a government lawyer seen by the Guardian, of the 14 enforced removals, six did not spend the required five working days in an immigration removal centre (IRC) prior to the flight and instead were held in prisons or a short-term holding facility for part of that period, where it is more difficult to access legal advice.

They add that government rules state everyone should be given five working days in such a centre prior to being removed to give them an opportunity to seek legal advice about whether the planned removal is lawful. As Vietnam is one of the top source countries for trafficking into the UK, there are concerns that some of those deported might be victims of trafficking who are entitled to protection here:

Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns about the safety of the returnees. Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said: “In these cases, Britain should have reflected that Vietnam is a country that punishes unauthorised departure of its nationals and will certainly mount a hostile investigation of these returnees for dissident activities or other undesirable behaviour while they were in the UK.

“Given this reality, Britain should be bending over backwards to ensure opportunities to seek protection are offered, and safeguard procedures are followed to the letter, not trying to rush people on to planes for deportation in the midst of a pandemic.”

Steve Valdez-Symonds, the refugee and migrant rights director at Amnesty International, said: “Amnesty is extremely concerned about reports that several people were forcibly removed from the UK by charter flight to Vietnam without proper opportunity for them to seek or receive legal advice and assistance. There is a serious and wholly unacceptable risk that on this flight were people whose removal was unlawful, including people who are victims of human trafficking and other serious abuses.”

What sort of country have we become, when dubious policy considerations are put before human rights and the welfare of innocent human beings?
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?