PRESS RELEASE: Black and Asian stars, campaigners and public figures call on airlines to cancel Priti Patel’s pre-Christmas mass deportation to Jamaica
Detention Action Press Release
Friday 27 November 2020
For immediate release
Black and Asian stars, campaigners and public figures call on airlines to cancel Priti Patel’s pre-Christmas mass deportation to Jamaica
Over ninety high profile individuals, including Natalie Barnes, daughter of the late Windrush campaigner Paulette Wilson, supermodel Naomi Campbell and actor Thandie Newton OBE, have spoken out to oppose a pre-christmas mass deportation of Black British residents to Jamaica planned by the Home Office for 2nd January.
In June 2018, Virgin Airlines announced that it would end its involvement with deportations from the UK, stating that the move was “in the best interest of our customers and people, and in keeping with our values”.
The letter also references recent revelations that Alexandra Ankrah, the most senior Black civil servant working on the Home Office’s Windrush compensation scheme has resigned, describing the scheme as systemically racist and unfit for purpose.
The letter has been sent to Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland, Antonio Mota, CEO of Evelop Airlines (the airline that operated the highly controversial deportation charter to Jamaica in February 2020), Gene Willson, Managing Director of Titan Airways, Kurt Ekert, President and CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Paulo Mirpuri, CEO of Hi Fly, and Phill Blundell, CEO of Air Tanker.
The letter follows confirmation that the Home Office is planning a pre-Christmas mass deportation to Jamaica on 2nd December. The Home Office says it is planning to deport up to 50 people on the flight, including many who have lived in the UK since childhood and those with British children.
The letter echoes warnings from lawyers and campaigners about the risk of dangerous removals, including of Windrush descendents and those who face real risks of harm or even death if removed. Between March 2018 – May 2019, at least five men deported from the UK to Jamaica were killed.
In February of this year, the Government carried out a highly controversial deportation of 17 British residents to Jamaica. Following legal action from human rights charity Detention Action, the majority of the planned 50 deportations were stopped by a Court of Appeal injunction due to serious access to justice violations in detention centres.
At least four people who were detained and slated for deportation in February, but taken off the flight at the eleventh hour, have since been referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the Government’s system for identifying and protecting victims of human trafficking, and received positive decisions on their claims.
For media enquiries please contact:
Matthew Leidecker, Campaigns Manager
Spokespeople are available for broadcast interview.