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Wednesday 13 February 2019

Press Release; Windrush National Day of Action 23rd February 2019

BAME Lawyers 4 Justice.

Press Release.

Embargoed 12.01 Wednesday 14th February 2019

Subject: UK BAME Lawyers for Justice National Coalition, Condemns UK Home Secretary Over Jamaica Charter Flight Deportations and Calls for A Windrush National Day of Action


An number of British national and regional, black and ethnic minority lawyers, organisations, community groups and significant individuals,  under the banner Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Lawyers 4 Justice, (BAME L4J) an unprecedented number of organisations and individuals, from across the country have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary demanding immediate halt to any future deportation charter flights.

In addition the BAME L4J coalition called for a Windrush National Day of Action demanding justice for Windrush victims and urgent reform of a British immigration system that treats black British people as third class citizens. That call is received resounding support . Across the country, local groups will meet on February 23rd 2019 to develop local plans for this nationwide justice initiative, the details of which will be announced in the next few weeks.

Mr Elwaldo Romeo Chair  -  Windrush Action (support group for victims)

"The resumption of deportation charter flights concerns us at Windrush Action particularly when we learn that at least one person who could have gone were it not for a last minute reprieve, has an application pending with the Windrush Task Force.

The Windrush crisis is still very much fresh unresolved and we are not convinced that the Home Office have learnt any lessons.  Decision-making is slow and in cases erroneous and we are concerned to learn that only one person has received assistance from the Hardship Fund when we have come across serious destitution. 

Further, we're concerned not to have information on how the compensation will be handled. Given all of this and given that there are still issues regarding the scope of people who should be deemed citizens or settled, we think that the resumption of deportation charter flights to Jamaica, a country which has the largest number of people affected by the Windrush scandal is premature."

Mr Lee Jasper, a founder member of BME L4J and a Blaksox sponsor said;

"The forced deportation of black British citizens, almost all who have lived here for decades, and who may have committed a criminal offence, of any kind, is a national scandal.

How many white Americans Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans have been deported using these powers? Very few I suspect.

This government is racially profiling black people for unfair and at times illegal deportation.

The Home Secretary knowingly misled the House of Commons, when he told MPs, that all those on board the Jamaican deportation flight were "serious criminals". That is simply not true and he should be challenged in the House to correct this misinformation and apologise.

The Windrush National Day of Action will be the first step, in black community of the United Kingdom, coming together to demand justice for Windrush victims and their families and put an end to this government's overtly discriminatory "hostile environment", immigration policy."

Ms Jacqueline McKenzie Lawyer and Founder of the Organisation for Migration Advice and Research and Windrush Action said:

“I'm very concerned that the government hasn't heeded the advice of Stephen Shaw who led an inquiry into detention centres and reported last July. He made it clear that it was wrong to be deporting people who were born in or spent most of their life in the UK as is the case with some of the people on the charter flight to Jamaica. 

I'm also appalled at the language used to describe the men and one woman who were deported as being serious criminals when we find that this may not be the case at all.

We're hearing now of one young man who was deported after a juvenile offence and a further offence of dangerous driving who is now being taunted in Jamaica because of the language used by the British government. The treatment of people affected by the Windrush crisis, mass deportations charter and discriminatory immigration rules and laws is nothing more than racist and a breach of human rights."

Cllr Anna Rothery (Mayoral Lead Equality & Race Equality, Liverpool)

We condemn the heinous act of deporting people who have lived worked and contributed financially to the UK. We have taken the best of their lives and reneged on our invitation to come, settle and work in the UK Abandoning our elders in their old age who gave so much in their prime.

We call on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to cease all deportations immediately. Liverpool will hold its Windrush Day of Action at Lime Street Station.”

Mr Anthony Brown, Windrush Crusade, Manchester stated;

“The Windrush Crusade calls on the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to use his discretion and not deport individuals who came to the UK as minors. Owen Haisley's case is deeply troubling and we entirely object to this Government's belief that he does not have the right to live in the UK. This is his home, he has lived here since he was 4 years old and he should not have to go through this.

The Windrush Crusade is doing everything it can to prevent this deportation including making representations to Lucy Powell MP who has asked questions in parliament on Owen's behalf and we are waiting for a response on this. We are also calling on the Government to halt deportation charter flights particularly as the Windrush Lessons Learned Review is not yet completed.

We fully support the Windrush Day of Action to raise political and public awareness about the on-going plight of British Citizens still being affected by the 'Windrush scandal' and tackle race disparities in the application of immigration, criminal justice, employment, health and other policies.’

Claude Hendrickson BAME officer Leeds NE CLP and supported by Racial Justice Network (RJN) and Yorkshire Resist commented;

“ Leeds community is horrified and condemn the recent resumption of deportation charter flight to Jamaica. Government has not yet learnt the lessons of the Windrush scandal and yet they continue to use system they know to be deeply flawed. Leeds is fully committed to the Windrush Day of Action and will be joining cities around the country to register our demand that all such deportation flights should be stopped, the victims of Windrush compensated, people wrongly deported should be repatriated and all the descendant of Windrush should be given automatic citizenship.“

Ms Connie Sozi, Immigration the Lawyer said,

The Government promised to put things right with the Windrush Generation. However, the unjust, speedy and opaque manner in which the Charter flight to Jamaica was pursued; the untruths told to justify removal; the failure to carry out reasonable checks to ensure no Windrush migrants were removed; and
continuing delay in formulating the Windrush Compensation Scheme to provide redress for human rights violations; all show the Government is not to be trusted.”

Rev Desmond Jadoo Windrush UK Birmingham said,

" It is clear that despite assurances the "Hostile Environment" is alive and well and targeting black people, the same people that rebuilt this country after a devastating war. The latest deportation flight stained yet again our community and unless we stand up and be counted, this will continue. It is clear, that the UK believes that it’s the ultimate moral authority and they’re perfect as the so called former colonial leaders. Well they are not.

We demand that there is an immediate suspension of deportations as some of them are highly questionable and further demand that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid review all deportation cases from the last flight. We are clearly returning to the time of  "No Blacks. No Irish, No Dogs". Birmingham fully supports the Windrush Day of Action.

Ms Zita Holbourne National Chair BARAC UK and National Vice President PCS

“ The hostile environment is destroying lives and tearing families apart. The lack of transparency about deportations has made the distress faced even worse. Last year FOI requests I sent to the Home Office went unanswered for several months, despite formal complaints and instructions by the Information Commissioners to answer them.

There was no consultation by government on restarting charter flights and given that the outcome of various reviews and consultations on Windrush has not concluded deportations should not be happening. The government dishonestly claimed in parliament that all deported were guilty of the most severe crimes adding to the anguish and labelling of those impacted. In any case all have served their time and been rehabilitated so should not face the triple punishment of prison, detention & deportation.

The numbers who have died because of this scandal have increased & some of those targeted for deportation were awaiting the outcome of applications for the Windrush Scheme.

The government claims that there was no Windrush link for those targeted but the truth is that Britain's history of enslavement and colonial rule led to those told they were part of the British Empire coming to the UK to help the country recover post WWII and subsequently to being joined by children and grandchildren who are now being told they do not belong here. Furthermore some of those targeted served in the British Armed Forces on active duty and should have been granted British citizenship once discharged.

The inhumane practice of wholesale removal of people on charter flights must stop. There must be an independent public inquiry into the Windrush scandal.”

Pastor Clive Foster - Nottinghamshire Windrush Support Forum
“It is appalling and callus that our government continues to deport Windrush Generations given that we know the failure of the Home Office with wrongful deportations some of which sadly died. I am deeply concerned that the HS has characterised the deportees as “serious offenders” when this clearly not the case. We are calling on all people of good will to support the WDA against this egregious injustice. “Your the
Mr Patrick Vernon OBE Windrush campaigner and social commentator
“ In April 2018 I launched a petition exposing the Windrush Scandal that over 180K signed.  The petition helped to contributed to the government admitting that their failed the Windrush Generation and their descendants.
One of the petitions key demands that the public supported was the suspension of deportation flights to allow people to resolve their immigration status as British Citizens irrespective of previous conduct of behaviour whilst the government review their policies and procedures.
The government have commissioned a lessons learnt review in absence of a public inquiry.
The government have again let down Windrush Generation have again by not waiting for the conclusions and recommendations of the review. They have now created a new scandal by violating the human rights and causing additional trauma and anxiety particularly for those who will think twice in contacting the Home Office to regularise their status.
The government need to suspend all flights until further notice and consider the final report of the lessons learnt review as they owe a duty of care to those affected by the Hostile Environment as highlighted in the recent National Audit Office Report in systematic failure   of the Home Office.”
National and London
Zita Holbourne                 Tel 07711861660  

Lee Jasper                       Tel 07984181797  
Jacqueline McKenzie      Tel 07961 148 568 or 020 8671 7989
Anthony Brown               Tel 07392399040 (Manchester)
Claude Hendrickson       Tel 07831 480196 (Leeds)
Cllr Anna Rothery           Tel 07841 652168 (Liverpool)
Rev Desmond Jado        Tel 07946 374577 (Birmingham)
Pastor Clive Foster        Tel 07881656399 (Nottingham)
Editors Info:
BAME Lawyer 4 Justice is an national coalitional of lawyers and campaigning group challenging Windrush injustices and the Government immigration “hostile environment” policy

We is an umbrella platform comprising of Society of Black Lawyers, BARAC UK, Blaksox, Windrush Action & a number of Windrush campaign groups from across the UK.
We campaign in response to the unfolding Windrush scandal calling for all deportations, including charter flights to the Caribbean, to be stopped.

We held an online windows debate and two national conferences, one in London and one in Nottingham in 2017. These community consultation events have called for a Windrush Day of Action

We organised and made countless representations to the Home Office on this issue, all ignored and have recently launched a petition calling for the cessation of all deportation charter flights, and now signed by 12000 people.

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