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GBR | Nov 26, 2020

UK to deport more Jamaicans next week

/ Our Today

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Planned deportation creating furore as it takes place on day England lifts month-long coronavirus lockdown

Protesters decry attempts to deport Jamaicans from the United Kingdom during a demonstration last year. (Photo: The London Economic)

Another set of Jamaicans is being deported from the United Kingdom next week, creating a firestorm given that it is taking place on the same day that the country lifts its coronavirus lockdown.

In fact the deportation flight, set to leave Britain for Jamaica next Wednesday, December 2, has sparked outrage and accusations of institutionalised racism.

It was unclear how many people are expected to be on the flight.

In a statement to the British media company, The Independent, Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Clive Lewis condemned the deportation, calling out the UK Home Office for what he described as its “de-humanising attitude to people resident in, immigrating to, and seeking refuge in the UK”.

Clive Lewis, member of parliament for Norwich South in the United Kingdom.

He said the practice was totally out of step with the inclusive Britain that so many Britons want to see.

Lewis, who has been the MP for Norwich South since winning the seat at the 2015 general election, charged that the deportation flights were part of a broader issue of institutionalised racism in Britain.

The MP, who was a candidate for Leader of the Labour Party in the 2020 leadership election, suggested that the Home Office should also be “halting the deportation of black British residents to Jamaica, planned for December 2”.

Arguing that undoing institutionalised racism starts one step at a time, Lewis said the Home Office can begin the first by halting the deportation of Osime Brown.

Osime Brown, 21, who has severe autism, is in a battle to prevent his deportation. (Photo: Joan Martin)

Brown is a 22-year-old autistic man whose family is currently fighting to stop his deportation to Jamaica. 

BRITAIN TREADS DANGEROUSLY DEPORTING DURING PANDEMIC

Zita Holbourne, the organiser of a long-running petition calling for an end to Britain’s “mass deportations” to Jamaica, pointed to the danger of Britain deporting people during the pandemic. She made the point that there had not been any deportations to Jamaica through the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, noting that a lot of people were released from detention because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Human rights advocate Zita Hobourne is disturbed by plans to deport Jamaicans on December 2, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: YouTube @Ibuka)

She is of the belief that deporting anyone during the pandemic is a breach of their human rights as deportation at this time is not safe. The human rights advocate said she was disturbed to learn the Home Office had planned the deportation flight for December 2, the very day that the UK is scheduled to lift the nationwide lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

Holbourne argued that the flight should not be allowed to leave the ground, particularly in light of the fact that black and other ethnic minorities have been found to be at greater risk of death from COVID-19 than other groups. A recent study commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan found that black people were at almost twice the risk of dying from COVID-19 as white people.

The findings showed that black people were at least 1.9 times more at risk of dying after contracting the virus.

JAMAICAN AWAITING DEPORTATION SHARES EXPERIENCE

A Jamaican national, who is among those who have been given a deportation order, said he was surprised to receive the notice last week. Speaking with The Independent on Tuesday from the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in Harmondsworth, England, the Jamaican, who wished not to be named, said he was down and very depressed.

The Jamaican man was fearful of contracting coronavirus while in immigration detention and dreaded the fact that he would be ripped away from his partner with whom he has built a life in the UK.  

“We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe.”

Spokesperson for the UK Home Office

Earlier this year the Home Office faced backlash over its deportation flights to Jamaica, after it allowed one of those flights to take off despite a legal challenge on the basis that some detainees had not had adequate access to legal support.

A statement sent to The Independent, purportedly from a spokesperson for the Home Office, said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe.”

The statement added: “That is why we will regularly operate charter flights to different countries to remove dangerous criminals who have no right to be here… . The people being detained for this flight include convicted murderers and rapists.”

In concluding, the Home Office statement indicated that none of the individuals due to be on the flight were eligible for the Windrush Scheme.

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