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News & Views Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May 2019

 

Five Men Killed in Past Year After Being Deported From UK to Jamaica

At least five people have been killed in Jamaica since March last year after being deported from the UK by the Home Office, the Guardian has learned. The killings took place after the men were sent back to Jamaica – which has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world – despite strict rules prohibiting deportations to countries in which an individual’s life may be in danger.

The government does not routinely monitor what happens to people who have been deported. But through interviews and archive research, the Guardian has verified the deaths of the five men and been told by other returnees that they fear for their lives. The revelations will increase pressure on the Home Office to justify its resumption in February of deportation charter flights to Jamaica, after they were suspended following the Windrush scandal.

Some of the men had convictions for violent and drug-related offences. But Naga Kandiah, a public law solicitor at MTC & Co – which deals with many Jamaican deportation cases – said the government’s human rights obligations were not dependent on past behaviour. “The Home Office’s own guidance recognises the high level of crime there due to organised gangs,” he said. “Nobody is saying that these men had not committed crimes, but it is a clear breach of human rights legislation to send them back to a country where their life could be in serious danger.” Lawyers routinely use the European convention on human rights to argue deportation would pose a threat to life.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://is.gd/RCBIXj



Deportees Live in Fear in Jamaica - 'Things So Bad Even the Police Are Scared'

Twenty-eight men and one woman were onboard a flight to Kingston chartered by the Home Office in February, the first deportation flight since the Windrush scandal. According to five of those on the plane who were interviewed by the Guardian, many are now living in fear. And after the killings of five people deported from the UK to Jamaica since March last year, they say some are in hiding because they are worried they could be next.

It has been rumoured that one man who was on the flight has been killed. Another person told the Guardian he was shot at several times but survived. He said he was ambushed in a shop days after arriving back in Jamaica by a group of armed men he knew from when he previously lived there.

He said he was shocked by how common weapons seemed to be on the streets. “People walking down the street with a gun is as common a sight as someone walking down the street in London carrying a bottle of water,” the man said. He added that he was desperately missing his two children in the UK and would like to try to challenge his deportation, but cannot afford to pay British legal fees. Cases such as his are beyond the scope of legal aid.
“I need to get out of Jamaica,” he said. “It is never safe here. Every day I hear about someone else who is in danger. Sometimes there are nine murders a week here.”

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://is.gd/mLw8sV



£2,465,579.61 Cost of Deportation Charter Flights Q1 Jan/Feb/March 2019

Thank you for your email of 8 April, in which you ask for

Total cost of Home Office Charter Flights, Q1 January/February/March 2019

Your request has been handled as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

We can confirm that the Home Office holds the information you have requested. The total cost of Home Office charter flights for the period January, February and March 2019 was £2,465,579.61.

Source: Home Office



Don't Deport Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers. Their Country is Not Safe

Since the fall of Mugabe in November 2017, the UK Government has had discussions with the Zimbabwean Government about returning Zimbabwean asylum seekers to their country. While their plans have been cloaked in secrecy, the Home Office has been preparing for deportations. In early December 2018 Zimbabwean asylum seekers found themselves called into an interview at the Home Office building in Sheffield with a Zimbabwean official who was checking their identity and their Zimbabwean citizenship.  Paul Blomfield MP has now challenged one of these interviews as illegal under Home Office regulations. Then in February 2019 Zimbabwean asylum seekers were detained (the Independent recorded at least seven cases). Zimbabweans cannot feel secure after these experiences.

Meanwhile, virtually all objective observers comment that the situation in Zimbabwe has not improved since the fall of Mugabe. On 16 January 2019, the Guardian said that ‘armed soldiers were patrolling the streets of major cities as unidentified men were reported to be sweeping through poor neighbourhoods of Harare, the capital, and beating people ‘at random’. Activists, lawyers and other citizens described a wave of abductions in and around Harare.’

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Advice is as follows: ‘You should avoid political activity, or activities which could be construed as such, including political discussions in public places. You should avoid all demonstrations and rallies. These can be unpredictable and may turn violent. The authorities have in the past used force to suppress demonstrations. It is an offence to make derogatory or insulting comments about the President or to carry material considered to be offensive to the President’s office.’

In these circumstances it is irresponsible of the Home Office to consider sending back to Zimbabwe asylum seekers with links to the Zimbabwean opposition. Such action would be contrary to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Home Office should grant Zimbabweans permission to stay in the UK while the situation is so bad in Zimbabwe. They should be able to work (and pay taxes) and play a full part in the community,

Sign the Online Petition: Calling on Savid Javid MP, Home Secretary:
1 To abandon plans for deportations to Zimbabwe;
2. To release any Zimbabwean asylum seekers who are still in detention;
3  To refrain from any further detentions of Zimbabwean asylum seekers and from offering special facilities to Zimbabwean officials to  interview Zimbabwean asylum seekers 
4 To give urgent and favourable consideration to the asylum claims of Zimbabwean asylum seekers  in this country.

Sign here: https://is.gd/yTS8zg



Asylum Research Consultancy Country of Information Update Vol. 194

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 30 April and 13 May 2019.

Download the full document: https://is.gd/liC0Wl



Immigration Detainees on Hunger Strike Q1 Jan/Feb/March 2019

                                January            February          March  2019   
Brook House                4                      2                      0
Campsfield House        Closed            
Colnbrook                   6                      2                      15                   
Dungavel                     0                      0                      0         
Harmondsworth          13                    18                    24
Morton Hall                 4                      2                      2
Tinsley House              2                      2                      1         
Yarl's Wood                 0                      3                      2

Source: Home Office