Blog Archive

Saturday, 12 August 2023






To the Prime Minister:

The Society of Black Lawyers

The Society of Asian Lawyers

The Association of Muslim Lawyers

Operation Black Vote

Blak Sox 

Barac UK

We believe the Government’s inflammatory comments calling immigration lawyers “lefty lawyers" is inexcusable when these lawyers have a duty to protect and act in the best interests of their clients.

The Government rhetoric about “lefty lawyers” is increasing the risk of harm to those individuals. We find it abhorrent that a top Human Rights Lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie is now being labelled in the press as the lawyer who is “stopping the boats.”

It has been quoted that the Government sent out a dossier that contained many inaccuracies to the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express. The Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick went as far as giving a radio interview where he repeatedly referred to advisers who were blocking the immigration process but bizarrely wouldn’t name the person, yet he told the presenter to read the article. This act can be described as 'adding fuel to the fire' as the Government has shown that they condone the contents of the article.

The Government has repeatedly behaved in an appalling manner, fanning hatred against minorities by repeatedly making statements by its ministers which just do that - fuel hatred. 

Why does the Conservative Government think it appropriate to target a woman who is reported to have taken security precautions since the articles were published after receiving “an ominous” email. This is appalling and shameful behaviour for a government that says it protects its citizens.

Ms McKenzie spends 90% of her time working on Windrush cases and has also sat on the independent advisory group with Sajid Javid regarding the Windrush Learned Lessons Review. So why the demonisation of Ms McKenzie? 

The reality is that this Government and its race baiting Home Secretary is presiding over a failed system with a backlog of 166,100 cases awaiting a first decision, with a success rate of 76% of cases due to international persecution. The vast majority of migrants are lawfully entitled to claim asylum under the Geneva Convention and have an 80% plus chance of being successful.  Over 50% of cases refused by the Home Office are allowed on appeal by Immigration Judges.

We welcome the Law Society and Bar Council’s statement in relation to this but more needs to be done to protect human rights lawyers that are abiding by the rule of law and are acting in the best interests of their clients. We stand with Jacqueline McKenzie and all the other lawyers that are lawfully helping those that are vulnerable and traumatised by Government policies that sometimes infringe on their human rights.

Peter Herbert O.B.E, Chair, Society of Black Lawyers states:

"As a former Immigration Judge the targeting of Jacqueline McKenzie is a libellous and dangerous attack on her professional integrity. The Rwandan deportation scheme has been declared unlawful by the Court of Appeal. Anyone who knows the Geneva Convention is aware this Government policy has nothing to do with "stopping the boats" but all about diversionary "culture war" rhetoric designed to avoid discussing a reduction in the huge Tory generated backlog in deciding asylum cases."

Frances Swaine, Solicitor states 

“The rule of law is crucial in a democracy, and fairness and equality are the basis for society. Where central government + media attack an individual lawyer for upholding the rule of law, this is dangerous for the individual, and for the rest of us.” 

Zita Holbourne, Chair of BARAC UK – Human Rights Campaigner states:

“Jacqueline McKenzie is a highly respected senior and experienced lawyer who has done important work in the quest for justice, representing vulnerable people facing the worse types of discrimination and human rights abuses. Her work on the Windrush Scandal is to be commended. This atrocious attack by the Government is irresponsible, putting Ms McKenzie at risk of danger and is racist in intent. All people are entitled to representation in the judicial system and this targeting of Ms McKenzie and other lawyers representing racialised people in human rights cases will not be tolerated."

Yours sincerely, 

Viv Ahmun Founder ( Blaksox)

Peter Herbert OBE (Barrister and retired judge)

Zita Holbourne Barac UK (Chair) 

Lee Jasper Chair (Alliance for Police Accountability)  

Attiq Malik (Society of Asian Lawyers) 

Frances Swaine Solicitor 

David Weaver Chair (Operation Black Vote)


For further information please contact:

D Peter Herbert OBE – SBL 07973 794 946

Lee Jasper 07984181797

Thursday, 6 July 2023

Zita Holbourne has been shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards


Zita Holbourne has been shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards 

Zita Holbourne from London  has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achiever Award at the National Diversity Awards 2023.

 Hailed as the Golden Globes of the diversity world, The National Diversity Awards will be hosted by world renowned broadcaster, author, presenter and journalist Clare Balding CBE. “I'm so looking forward to hosting these awards and giving everyone the chance to celebrate the substantial achievements of our fabulously diverse community across  a whole range of industries, businesses and charities,” says Clare Balding CBE. “It's an important spotlight on those who make the world a better place for the full rainbow of society.” An astonishing 90,000 people nominated this year alone and the results are finally in for the National Diversity Awards (NDA), with 120 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide. 

Community organisations and role models from across the UK will head to the breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on 15th September to witness the countries 2023 winners being crowned the best of British diversity. Amongst those being honoured are charities, campaigners and activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways.

Zita Holbourne shortlisted for the Lifetime Achiever Award said;     

"I am delighted and feel honoured to be shortlisted for the Lifetime Achiever Award, in recognition of my work across decades for equality, justice,  human and workers rights through activism and arts. The path of an activist / campaigner is not an easy one  but I have dedicated my life to these causes dear to my heart in order  to challenge barriers which discriminate and marginalise, to make the world a more equal and better place for all."

Donna Guthrie, National Women's Officer,  BARAC UK said;

“Zita has been a tireless campaigner and champion for equality, freedom and justice over many decades, dedicating her life to improving the lives of others in society, locally and internationally. It is extremely fitting that she has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievers Award by the judges of the National Diversity Awards 2023"

Hector Wesley, PCS National Executive Committee member said;

“Zita being shortlisted for a Lifetime Achiever Award is deserved recognition of her hard work and dedication over many years in a variety of fields.”

Zita Holbourne FRSA,  is a multi-award winning equality and human rights campaigner, community activist and trade union leader. She has played a key role in exposing the Windrush Scandal and campaigning  for justice for the Windrush Generation.  She is the National Chair and co-founder  of BARAC UK, Joint National Chair of Artists' Union England, a trustee of ACTSA, founding member of African, Caribbean and Asian Lawyers For Justice, an author and multidisciplinary artist,  producing work as a visual artist, poet, writer, vocalist and curator. In 2012 Zita won the Positive Role Model for Race Award at the National Diversity Awards.

Direct Line Group, Auto Trader and The British Army have recently been announced as sponsors of the pioneering awards that have paid tribute to thousands of grass root groups and diversity champions since its inception. ITV News are also listed amongst a host of companies showcasing their support to recognising diverse talent, providing a platform to our unsung heroes. 

Louise Bailey, I&D Accelerator at OVO Energy said: 

“We are proud to support the National Diversity Awards and recognise positive role models and organisations who are leading the way when it comes to inclusion. This allows us to celebrate all the wonderful people dedicated to building belonging and recognise their work so that we can thank them and learn from them.” 

Designed to highlight the country's most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA's continue to gain endorsements from high profile figures such as Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton. Activist Katie Piper, Emmerdale star Ash Palmisciano and Paralympic Gold Medallist Danny Creates were on this year’s judging panel, dedicating their time to help choose the highly anticipated shortlist.

 “Once again, I’m humbled by the sheer number of nominations we have received for individuals, groups and organisations showing outstanding commitment to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion.,” says Paul Sesay, CEO of Inclusive Companies and founder of the National Diversity Awards. “These Awards aim to celebrate the unsung heroes who are changing perceptions and lives through their dedication and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, they seek to inspire the next generation of diversity champions to be brave, stand up and make a difference to their communities.” 

To view a full list of nominees please visit



Tuesday, 24 January 2023

The Right to Protest is a Human Right

BARAC UK with 73 other social justice groups, charities  and campaign organisations  are calling on the House of Lords to vote down the Public Order Bill’s anti-protest measures next Monday.

Access the briefing here.


Saturday, 3 December 2022

Sign our petition to stop the BBC axing Black and Asian radio shows, model MP letter


Sign the petition here:

Write to your MP, you can use the model wording below and feel free to add something  about the personal impacts on you.

Please ensure you include your full postal address at the end so your MP can see that you are their constituent.

If you don't know who your MP is or how to contact them,  you can find their details here using your postcode:

Model letter


I am writing to you to ask that you lend your voice to the campaign to stop the BBC cutting Black and Asian BBC local  radio shows.

These radio shows are very important to our communities, cuts impact not only on listeners but on the  predominantly Black and Asian workers employed by the BBC, working ok these programmes. 

It is essential that the BBC provides a service to all  and that it is not allowed to simply disregard Black and Asian communities and workers in this way. 

As a public broadcaster the BBC is accountable to the public and communities and also has to comply with its equality responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty. There appears to have been no Equality Impact Assessment conducted
and no consultation with communities impacted has taken place as part of this.

I would be grateful if you were to write to the BBC to raise concerns.

I refer you to the petition by campaigner Zita Holbourne  here;

and the open letter by BEO which some MPs have signed here;

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards

Address with postcode

Friday, 2 September 2022

BARAC UK co-organises National protests against Rwanda Deal, Sunday 4th of September


BARAC UK is part of the Action Against Detention and Deportations group. We have organised solidarity protests at detention centres over the coming days and weeks.

Please see press release below for more info.

Action Against Detention and Deportations Press Release 

2nd September 2022

*For immediate release*

Hundreds are expected to attend the demonstrations at immigration removal centres (IRCs) across the UK to show solidarity with people in detention threatened with removal to Rwanda. The demonstrations will take place on the weekends before and after the High Court judicial review hearing on the Rwanda policy, which begins on 5th September. 

  • Demonstrations will take place on 4th September outside Colnbrook IRC near Heathrow Airport and at the Short Term Holding Facility near Manchester Airport. 

  • On 10th September a demonstration will take place at Yarl’s Wood IRC, which has been used historically to detain women but since 2020 has been used primarily to detain people arriving by small boats across the Channel. 

  • The demonstrations will all begin at 3pm. Further details can be found on the Action Against Detention and Deportations website.

The demonstrations are being organised by Action Against Detention and Deportations, a coalition of groups and individuals, committed to ending the “inherently unjust practices” of detention and deportation, and dismantling the wider “hostile environment” against migrants [1]. 

The coalition, which includes groups such as All African Women’s Group, BARAC UK, Global Justice Now, and SOAS Detainee Support, has decades of collective experience campaigning against detention and deportation and for refugee and migrant rights. They state the Rwanda policy is a “racist, punitive, and illegal move by the Conservative government” [1]. They believe that alongside ongoing legal proceedings, public opposition is urgent and crucial in light of reports that new Rwanda removal notices are being handed out and that the Home Office is planning another flight [2].

Demonstrators, including women asylum seekers at risk of being detained and removed to Rwanda, will describe their experiences and express their outrage at the policy [3], which targets women and men seeking sanctuary from persecution, conflict, rape and other life-threatening situations, including climate displacement. 

The government’s attempt at an initial flight to Rwanda on 14th June was grounded after widespread protest, condemnation, and an eventual injunction from the European Court of Human Rights [4]. Those forced onto the plane were treated with appalling brutality. Surrounded by security escorts, they were handcuffed, restrained, and utterly terrified [5]. Demonstrators will demand that this traumatic process never happens again. Further protests took place at seven detention sites across the UK in July after rumours emerged of a planned second flight [6].


A detainee who has been given removal notice to Rwanda* said: “They tell me I must go to Rwanda. Believe me, if I thought Rwanda was a safe option I would have gone there. And if I thought I would be safe in my country I would go back there in an instant.” 

Gloria Peters, a member of All African Women’s Group, said: As African women, we know that Rwanda isn't safe. The genocide has left an indelible mark. Many of us are survivors of rape and other torture and our lives will be at risk there. Our countries have been bombed, our lands and homes destroyed, our wealth stolen. We have a right to be here.”

Zita Holbourne, National Chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, said: "This vile policy of targeting vulnerable people who have already had to flee for their lives and dumping them in Rwanda is inhumane and breaches international human rights laws. It is also racist in intent, targeting Black and Brown people, who have found themselves with no other choice but to arrive in the UK by small boats, already experiencing post traumatic stress because of the reason they had to flee and the perilous journeys they have encountered. We have a collective responsibility to resist and stand up against such systemic racism and injustice."

Joseph Maggs, Coordinator of SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), said: The Rwanda plan is the British state’s latest attempt to dehumanise and marginalise people who have fled persecution, war, poverty, climate catastrophe and other forms of life-threatening violence. Seeking sanctuary and a better life, the government wants to permanently expel them to a country they have never been to. This policy is a violent attack on the asylum system, an expansion of the Hostile Environment, and aims to stoke divisions in a deeply unequal society. Despite ongoing legal proceedings, the Home Office is reported to be planning another Rwanda flight. We stand with our migrant brothers and sisters and will not allow anyone to be deported under this brutal plan, which is rooted in Britain's ongoing history of racism and colonialism."

Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive Director of Migrants Organise, said: “We have had enough. The Rwanda sham is the latest cruel expansion of Britain’s Hostile Environment immigration system. It undermines the most basic principles of refugee protection. This year marks ten years since the Hostile Environment was embedded into policy, building on a colonial legacy of state racism to criminalise migrants and deny us our dignity and freedom. But the state’s legacy of violence is matched by our legacy of resistance. We know that when we take action together, a better world is possible. We need every person who believes in dignity and justice to take solidarity action now - there can be no bystanders in the face of this cruel, inhuman and shameful Rwanda sham.


For requests or more information, contact:

Joseph Maggs, SOAS Detainee Support (SDS): Tel: 07810158502. 

Cristel Amiss, Global Women Against Deportations: Email: Tel: 07456525227.

Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK: Email: Tel: 07856181953.


[1] Action Against Detention and Deportations, Statement, 2 September 2022.

[2] Diane Taylor, “Home Office planning new deportation flight to Rwanda”, Guardian, 25 August 2022.

[3] Home Office, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK and Rwanda, 14 April 2022.

[4] Diane Taylor and Rajeev Syal, “Day of drama and despair before Rwanda flight called off”, Guardian, 15 June 2022.

[5] May Bulman and Bel Trew, “‘Like I was going to be executed’: On board the failed Rwanda deportation flight”, Independent, 16 June 2022. 

[6] Bethany Rielly, “End the brutal Rwanda policy, protesters demand”, Morning Star, 15 July 2022.


*Name has not been given to protect identity 


Action Against Detention and Deportations is a coalition of groups and individuals committed to ending detention, deportations and the wider “hostile environment” against migrants. Our members stand in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary in the UK, and some are at risk of being removed to Rwanda themselves. Members of our coalition have decades of collective experience campaigning against detention and deportation and for refugee and migrant rights. 

The groups involved are:

Monday, 9 May 2022

BARAC UK call to action: Jamaica mass deportation 18th May - model letter for MPs


Please use and feel free to adapt the model letter below and send urgently to your MP asking them to take action to stop the mass deportation flight to Jamaica scheduled for 18th of May 2022.

If you do not know how to contact your MP or who they are, use this link .

You just need your postcode to hand. 

Follow us on social media @baracuk on twitter and @baracukoriginal on instagram.

We are using the hashtags #Jamaica50 and #StopthePlane 

Model Letter to MPs 

Dear [Member of Parliament],

I am writing as a constituent to ask that you urgently oppose the mass deportation by charter flight to Jamaica, scheduled by the Home Office on 18th of May. Mass deportation flights are a breach of human rights. There is evidence that the Caribbean community has been targeted disproportionately for deportations in addition to the horrific impacts of the Windrush scandal.

Amongst those targeted for deportation on these flights are young people who have been victims of modern day slavery, people who have made their home in the UK for decades, , who came to the UK as children, who are parents of British born and young children, who came to the country as refugees, including people who have had to flee persecution. Most are the children and grandchildren of the Windrush Generation and they are their families have contributed to the UK economy and wider society over many decades. Invited here to help the UK recover post World War II.


Over the past two years there have been outbreaks of coronavirus in detention centres in and those detained have reported a woeful and unacceptable lack of PPE and wider safety measures. People being deported are transported in packed vans, often handcuffed to escorts, on long journeys to airports, where they then are chained to their seats and to two guards. Given that black and minority ethnic people have contracted and died of covid disproportionately, this is irresponsible to put people who are at high risk already, in this position. This has included people with serious medical conditions.

In addition, the vast majority have British children, partners and wider family here. Tearing parents apart from loved ones including children is inhumane and causes distress and trauma to children and is unlawful, breaching the human rights of children and families. 

The fast turnaround of deportations leaves inadequate time to access legal advice and representation which has been made worse because access to the computer rooms at detention centres have been closed or with limited and restricted access. There have also been reports of fax machines and computers not working meaning that people detained cannot communicate with legal representatives. Access to legal support is a fundamental human right.

Once deported, people face destitution, trauma and persecution, with some having fled persecution in the first place, this impacts severely on both physical and mental health. We know that some people have sadly been killed or taken their own lives subsequently. 

 I am asking that you take urgent action, including writing to the Home Secretary calling for this flight to be cancelled and to call for an end to charter flight mass deportations. 




[Your Name]



Please add your full postal address to confirm you are a constituent. 


Find your MP here:


Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Campaign Victory! Government officially withdraws pushback of small boats policy . Thank you

 Campaign Victory! Government officially withdraws pushback of small boats policy . Thank you

Dear Supporter 

I am very pleased to let you know that we have a victory in this campaign and our  campaigning has resulted in the government doing a u-turn on their inhumane and  illegal push-back of small boats of refugees  into the English Channel sea.

It is through  collective action and joint working against this horrendous racist  policy  that we succeeded. Thanks to everyone  for signing this petition, the legal challenges and for taking part in campaigning activities. 

The policy on push-back of small boats was withdrawn days before a judicial review  court hearing was scheduled to take place in the High Court.

The Royal Navy has been given responsibility for Channel operations and the Ministry of Defence has confirmed  in a letter that it has no jurisdiction to push back boats of refugees. This is what we pointed out when we started this petition last Autumn, that it was in breach of International laws. 

Whilst this is a clear victory for all of us who campaigned and kept up pressure on the government to reverse this wicked policy we cannot afford to he complacent in relation to the attack on refugee and migrant communities  as the  racist and draconian  Nationality and Borders bill which we have also been campaigning  against and which has twice been rejected in the House of Lords reaches its final stage.  Also the government  has recently announced a deal to offshore processing of asylum seekers to Rwanda, another inhumane policy, contradicting the Refugee Convention.

So as we celebrate this victory on small boats , the campaign against racist immigration policies continues. 

Thank you for your part in the success of this campaign which has been achieved through people power and collective actions and campaigning. 

Solidarity and Thanks.

Zita Holbourne 

National Chair  and Co-founder BARAC UK