Catholic campaigners voice concern over deportations

  • Abigail Fryman, Jo Siedlecka

protester outside Home Office

protester outside Home Office

Catholic campaigners have expressed grave concern after the government today (Tuesday) went ahead with a deportation flight to Jamaica despite protests, and opposition from more than 170 MPs.

Barbara Kentish, from Westminster Justice and Peace, said: "Today's hasty deportations to Jamaica are an affront to human rights. Some of those on today's flight hardly know Jamaica, while others have low-level convictions. A brutally raw racist policy towards Jamaicans seems to have returned in force. The Windrush generation-and its children- is being targeted again."

Ben Bano from 'Seeking Sanctuary' which works with refugees, commented: "This latest deportation is nothing short of scandalous. the people involved have not only served their sentence for any crimes but they are established members of the community and have no connection with Jamaica. They have been deprived of their right to a family life. Children and spouses are left bereft and are being unjustly punished following this heartless action. We call on all members of the Catholic Community and other churches to denounce this action in the strongest possible terms."

Phil Kerton who also works with Seeking Sanctuary said: "The failure of the Home Office to abide by its own rules is worrying, as also is the extremely late decision to impose an additional penalty upon people many years after they have served sentences for minor and youthful offences - coupled with vague statements that all those affected are guilty of the most heinous and violent crimes and implications that they are all foreign nationals with no right to live in the UK."

The Columbans said in a statement: "The Columbans deplore the lack of compassion shown to the deportees, most of whom have only known Britain as home and have been wrenched from their families. Particularly unjust is the breaking up of families which will ruin the lives of many children. There must be more transparency, more proportionate justice and measures to tackle the racism this case has engendered."

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) in a statement: "Our thoughts are with the families who have just been forced apart by the Government, with the children who have lost their fathers, with the women who've become single mothers overnight. They are British in every meaningful way and if the law allows those people to be exiled, it needs to change."

Although several airlines quietly undertake deportation flights, one - Titan Airways - was named as the carrier in the deportation flight blocked by the so-called 'Stansted 15' protestors in 2019. Titan Airways is one of the main charter airlines used for more than 17 years to take disabled pilgrims and their carers to Lourdes.

The Movement For Justice said that this latest group of detainees left the UK from Doncaster Sheffield airport on a Spanish charter airline 'Evelop Airlines' around 6.30am. It is believed they were taken to Moreton Hall Detention Centre in Lincolnshire from London and spent about 12 hours on coaches. Relatives of the detainees were not told what was happening are reported to be very distressed. 'Evelop Airlines' is owned by Barcelo Viajes, and a subsidiary of Orbest, an airline bought by Barcelo following the collapse of Orizonia Corporation.

Ann Farr from Coventry Justice and Peace said: "Please lobby the following to stop this deportation and all deportations and close the Detention Centres:

- Your MP:

- the Home Secretary: Priti Patel - House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA; Tel: 020 7219 3528 - Email: [email protected] Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF - Email: [email protected] - Website:
Twitter: @patel4witham

- the Prime Minister:

To stop their complicity in these injustices, lobby:

- Coach companies, Clarke's and Kings Ferry, both part of National Express:

- Evelop air:

- Doncaster Airport:

Tags: Deportations, Titan Airways, Windrush, Barbara Kentish, Phil Kerton, Ben Bano, Columbans, Evelop Airlines

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