Very recently, the news highlighted a deportation flight which carried 29 foreign nationals from London to Jamaica. They were said to be 'serious offenders' and had been held in detention centres awaiting deportation. It is reported that some 50 deportees were due to be on the flight, but some had their removals cancelled at the last moment.
There has been animated discussion of this incident in the media, against the background of problems faced by the Windrush generation and concern for the plight of EU citizens after Brexit.
It may be helpful to see these recent events in the context of the earlier visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism. In May 2018, at the end of her eleven day mission to the UK, Prof Tendayi Achiume released an End of Mission Statement containing her 'preliminary observations' regarding racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the UK.
Particularly relevant are Prof Achiume's comments on the Race Disparity Audit (RDA). She praises the RDA as a 'remarkable step' and says that it is 'worthy of emulation by governments all over the world.'(para 12). However, she is equally clear about its failure to address immigration law and policy:
…. the audit fails to capture racial disparities rooted in immigration law and policy, and in counter-extremism and counter-terrorism law and policy. In light of the implications of both of these frameworks for racial equality, the government's failure to include these frameworks within the ambit of the RDA fundamentally and foreseeably undermines the government's stated commitment to racial equality …… I strongly recommend that the government include assessment of the racially disparate impact of immigration and counterterrorism law and policy on British society. (para 15)
Prof Achiume highlights the policy that sought to create a 'hostile environment' for 'irregular immigrants'. She argues that it has in fact created a hostile environment for minority communities more widely in the UK, and that will not change until the underlying law and policy change (para 33-39). CARJ welcomed Prof Achiume's Statement at the time, and we think recent events have made it even more relevant.
The full Statement is available at:www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx NewsID=23073&LangID=E .
See also: ICN 6 February 2019 #Stansted15 - campaigners who stopped deportation plane sentenced + film www.indcatholicnews.com/news/36488
CARJ is an independent charity which works with others to create a more just, more equal, more cooperative society. For more information see: www.carj.org.uk
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