BAME LAWYERS for Justice are staging a protest against a planned chartered deportation flight to Jamaica today.
The protest, organised to start to outside 10 Downing Street at 6pm this evening, will aim to apply further pressure on to the government to stop the flight from leaving the UK for Kingston, Jamaica.
This week, news of a deportation flight hit headlines after campaigners deemed it a return to the government’s hostile environment policy and called for the deportations to be halted until the release of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
In a statement, BAME Lawyers for Justice said: “In the absence of the publication of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review we have no confidence that this government has respected people rights under British and international law. We believe we are seeing the full-scale re-introduction of the hostile environment policy introduced by the government’s former prime minister Theresa May.”
Lee Jasper, BAME Lawyers for Justice, said: “The horrors revealed by the Windrush Scandal revealed catastrophic errors of judgement and toxic racism and we are still waiting for the publication of the Wendy Williams’ review to identify precisely what went wrong and what are the report’s key recommendations.
‘Deport now, appeal later’
“It cannot be right, that these flights have resumed in the absence of this critically important Windrush report, and the fact that the PM Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel have decided to do so, we believe to be vindictive callous and inhumane.”
Zita Holbourne Chair of BARAC UK, BAME Lawyers for Justice, said: “We call upon the government to abandon the deeply racist hostile environment, ‘deport now, appeal later’ immigration policy that has and continues to cause so much heartbreak and injustice.”
The government has maintained that those scheduled to leave the UK on the flight are all criminals who do not have the right to remain in the country. But campaigners have disputed this, and opposition politicians have backed calls for the flights to be suspended.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Labour MP Nadia Whittome asked if the prime minister Boris Johnson would “suspend the flight until the Lessons Learned review is published and the recommendations implemented”.
There are fears that some of those on board are victims of trafficking and others are “very vulnerable individuals who have not been adequately assessed for their fitness to fly, despite presenting with serious medical conditions”, the BBC reported.
David Lammy said: “The Home Office should not be chartering deportation flights to Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean before the much-delayed Windrush Lessons Learned Review has been published. How can the Home Secretary be sure she is not making the same mistakes?”
The flight is due to leave the UK on February 11.