Tag Archives: deport

Patel insists Rwanda is safe for asylum-seekers – despite expert advice on torture

Priti Patel: she’s not one to listen to advice she doesn’t like.

The Home Secretary has confirmed that she is ignoring the advice of an adviser who said the Rwandan government tortures political opponents, in pushing her policy of deporting asylum-seekers there.

Priti Patel insisted that Rwanda was a “safe country”.

She said the comments had been made by “officials in a different government department”.

She added: “But of course it is the Home Office who has led the economic development migration partnership which is our resettlement partnership to Rwanda. Rwanda is a safe country and all our work with the government of Rwanda shows that.”

She was responding to a High Court judgment that seven statements by an adviser should be made public in advance of a Supreme Court ruling on whether the Rwanda deportation policy is legal.

A judge ruled that a further four statements should not be published as they could potentially harm international relations.

It is not unreasonable – on the face of it – for the government to seek advice and then ignore what it is told.

Governments may take opinions from multiple sources before forming their own opinions and policy.

But this has the potential to blow up in the Tory government’s collective face, if the decision to ignore warnings about this foreign government leads to asylum-seekers being harmed.

Court ruling on Rwanda comments that should be published forces questions on those that won’t

Illegal policy? Priti Patel announced the plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda back in April. But a first flight there was aborted at the last minute as the legality of the scheme was challenged.

The High Court has ruled that a government adviser’s comment that Rwanda’s government tortures and kills political opponents – and six others – should be published ahead of a legal battle to decide whether deportations to that country are legal.

But four further comments by the same person were judged necessary to keep entirely secret because of the damage they would do to international relations between the UK and that country.

This leads to an obvious question:

Given the incendiary nature of the “torture” comment, how damning were the four that are being kept secret? And how can the UK’s Tory government justify sending asylum seekers to Rwanda after being provided with such information?

In his ruling, Lord Justice Lewis said:

“I recognise that there is a strong public interest in not undermining international relations with a friendly state. Nonetheless, that consideration is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring access to relevant information in this litigation and by the extent to which the information is already in the public domain.”

Migrants identified for the first aborted flight, and three media organisations – BBC News, including BBC Two’s Newsnight, The Times and The Guardian newspapers – sought the disclosure of the material.

The judge said given September’s major legal action had to decide whether sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful, the claimants and the court needed to consider as much evidence as possible.

He said some of the official’s comments would have “evidential significance” – and the public interest in disclosing them outweighed the government’s case for keeping them secret.

The government has been allowed time to consider an appeal. If the judgment stands, the comments are likely to emerge in public in September.

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Why are asylum-seekers to be electronically tagged? What is their crime?

Priti Patel: it would be better if she were not only electronically tagged but also gagged, to prevent her causing further harm to innocent victims.

Priti Patel’s Home Office is planning to electronically tag asylum-seekers arriving in the UK, as though they were criminals (or people accused of criminality) rather than refugees from persecution.

The decision has been likened to “victim blaming” – an opinion endorsed by This Site – although the Home Office itself is twisting language to claim the trial will examine whether electronic monitoring can help maintain regular contact with migrants and help to progress their claims.

Perhaps someone has been in contact with the “Nudge Unit” to get help to convince us all they’re doing the right thing? If so, it’s not working!

Ministers faced calls to abandon the “farce of a policy” after suggestions that those who recently avoided being sent to Rwanda after a legal challenge could be among the first to be tagged under the programme.

Clare Moseley, founder of the Care4Calais charity, said: “I think it’s outrageous. Refugees in general do not abscond. There’s no data that shows that they do – they never have done. They are here to claim asylum, so why would they? They’re not criminals, they’re victims. Things happen to them. They didn’t cause it. It’s just another part of the government criminalising refugees, which is basically victim-blaming.”

Apparently the number of decisions on asylum applications has plummeted while Patel has been busy victimising innocent people, created a huge backlog.

And of course, by attacking victims of persecutation and exploitation, she is doing nothing to eliminate criminal people-smuggling gangs.

The Tories get away with this by “othering” the asylum-seekers and refugees.

By making them look like criminals, they are hoping enough of the electorate will be gullible enough to believe that is what they are. I hope they are mistaken.

Source: Outrage over scheme to electronically tag asylum seekers arriving in UK

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Who thought the first deportation flight to Rwanda would be stopped? You were right!

Priti Patel: she announced the deportation flights in April – and has been humiliated by the cancellation of the first.

Yes – some of us saw this one coming from a long way away!

The first flight to deport people seeking asylum in the UK to live in Rwanda instead has been halted after a series of last-minute legal appeals.

Oh what a shame. Another Priti Patel plan bites the dirt – and not a moment too soon.

The flight was called off after the European Court of Human Rights intervened.

In a statement hours before the flight’s planned departure, the ECHR said it had granted an “urgent interim measure” in the case of an Iraqi man, known only as “KN”, and one of seven remaining passengers.

An out-of-hours judge was then tasked with examining the remaining half dozen cases.

The flight was originally intended to take 30 people to the African country that is accused of human rights abuses – but has been cancelled after the number was whittled down to nothing.

The architects of the scheme – Boris Johnson and Priti Patel – have said this is a setback but they are determined to make it work.

Johnson suggested lawyers representing migrants were “abetting the work of criminal gangs”.

But this is reducing the situation to a ridiculous degree.

The plan will break the 1951 Refugee Convention that has set the standard for the way that governments should deal with people fleeing persecution in other countries for more than 70 years.

Johnson and Patel have sidestepped the convention by ignoring the complex set of problems surrounding each asylum-seeker and refusing to accept that their arrival is to do with anything more than the criminal acts of people smugglers.

The government has also been accused of acting irrationally in treating Rwanda as a “safe third country”. Critics have correctly pointed out that Rwanda’s record on human rights is flawed.

Still, Patel has vowed that the government will “not be deterred” from its plan and “many of those removed from today’s flight will be placed on the next”.

It’s threatening language from an extremely unpleasant individual.

One can only be left with a sense that the UK’s government is acting against the best interests of the asylum-seekers in its care – unloading them onto a foreign country without the slightest interest in their well-being.

That, of course, is exactly the reason these people don’t want to go.

Johnson and Patel have said they may consider changing the law to make it possible to push the deportations through.

That is exactly the behaviour of a rogue state.

Source: First deportation flight to Rwanda halted after last-minute legal appeals

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Will Tory rebels do something useful and stop the deportations to Rwanda?

Callous, immoral and possibly homicidal: Priti Patel announced the plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda in April.

There’s less than a week to go before Home Secretary Priti Patel sends the first flight of asylum seekers into exile in Rwanda.

Tory rebels who gave Boris Johnson a bloody nose with their strong response to a confidence vote in his leadership could stop it.

But will they?

There are plenty of reasons for them to do it.

The plan will break the 1951 Refugee Convention that has set the standard for the way that governments should deal with people fleeing persecution in other countries for more than 70 years.

Johnson and Patel have sidestepped the convention by ignoring the complex set of problems surrounding each asylum-seeker and refusing to accept that their arrival is to do with anything more than the criminal acts of people smugglers.

The roughly 100 men selected to be on the first flight have reacted in ways that are painful to learn: one group staged a five-day hunger strike; others have threatened suicide. At least two of those being sent out may not even be adults.

Charities including Freedom from Torture are taking legal action on grounds that the government is violating the refugee convention – and also acting irrationally in treating Rwanda as a “safe third country”.

The Home Office has acknowledged that there are grounds for concern about the way LGBTQ+ people are treated there.

And critics have correctly pointed out that Rwanda’s record on human rights is flawed.

Perhaps that is why Rwanda itself has created, and continues to create, countless refugees of its own, with at least 287,000 Rwandans – possibly as many as a million – having fled the regime of President Paul Kagame.

“Kagame is a stooge: he’s a conman of the West in dubious business including, now, human trafficking,” is how one such Rwandan exile [Etienne Mutabazi] describes the president and his £120m deal with the UK Government.

The Kagame regime is not content with creating exiles, though – and has been implicated in abducting and killing exiles across Africa for years.

Despite these facts, the UK and other Western governments are keen to send their asylum seekers into the care of the Kagame regime – from which many may become refugees for a second time, it seems.

“The West does not care because it’s not happening on its shores,” [Mutabazi] explained. “If you were caring, you wouldn’t negotiate [with Kagame]… [The deal] is immoral, unethical and illegal.”

And it isn’t even deterring refugees from coming to the UK, according to the latest figures.

About 9,000 people have arrived in the UK on small boats so far this year, almost half since the Rwanda policy was launched.

There are better ways of dealing with a refugee problem that, in the UK, is minute compared with that of other nations.

Tory backbench rebels would earn a huge amount of credibility by pushing Johnson into abandoning this lunatic cruelty and adopting sensible policies (some are suggested in the source article).

And they would be showing us that they do have the backbone to restrain the UK’s out-of-control prime ministerial maniac. But can they?

Source: The Guardian view on deportations to Rwanda: cut out the stunts

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Priti Patel told to stop lying about refugees by UN agency

Hate face: would you trust Priti Patel with a duty of care over any human beings at all?

Priti Patel should stop lying that refugees from foreign countries arriving in the UK are merely “economic migrants” looking for  a bit of easy money.

That’s the gist of a report by the United Nations’ refugee agency:

The United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) told the Guardian that those travelling by small boat to the UK should be considered to be asylum seekers or refugees, and not migrants.

“Based on currently available Home Office data, UNHCR considers that a clear majority of those recently arriving to the United Kingdom by boat are likely to be refugees. Refugees and asylum seekers are not, and should not be described as, ‘migrants’,” the spokesperson told the Guardian.

“Access to asylum should never be contingent on mode of arrival or nationality. Equally, the only way to establish whether people are refugees is through a fair and efficient determination of their claims, for which the UK has a clear responsibility.”

The intervention comes as the Home Office prepares to deport the first set of people to Rwanda, after Patel announced her intention to emulate a failed Israeli plan to do the same that was wound up a few years ago.

The policy is explicitly focused on people who arrive via so-called “irregular” routes, such as in small boats across the Channel or hidden in lorries.

Here’s the part of the Home Office statement referring to this (that isn’t waffle):

“Only those with inadmissible asylum claims who have made dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys will be relocated and to suggest otherwise is wrong.”

Inadmissible in what way?

Because they arrived by an “irregular” route? Who defines what is an “unnecessary” journey and what are their criteria?

Are they as described by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees? If so, is the UK breaking UN rules again, as it did with sick and disabled benefit claimants?

And will the Tory government get away with it yet again, after the UN proved utterly toothless in effecting change?

Source: Clear majority of people crossing Channel are refugees, says UNHCR

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Establishment racism: Non-verbal black teenager who has never left UK detained at immigration centre

Priti Patel: it seems she’s so racist, she will merrily try to deport black people, even though they are UK citizens. She just won’t carry out the proper checks.

This is beyond This Writer’s ability to comment. The level of racism displayed by the UK authorities in this story is off the scale:

A woman has described how her 17-year-old black British son was found at an immigration detention centre after going missing while being treated for psychosis.

The boy – who is non-verbal – disappeared from a hospital in Kent, where he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, on 7 April. Two days later, he was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) at Euston on suspicion of fare evasion, before being detained by Immigration Enforcement near Gatwick, despite being British.

“It’s just horrific,” the boy’s mother said. “Because he’s black they just assumed ‘let’s pick him and put him in a deportation centre’.”

When the boy was returned to the hospital, his clothes contained Home Office documents that incorrectly stated his name and date of birth, and recorded his nationality as Nigerian.

“How do they know he’s from Nigeria, when he doesn’t even speak to them?” the woman said of her son.

The boy is a British citizen and has never left the UK. His mother said he would not have been able to say his date of birth properly, and would never have said he was from Nigeria.

James Wilson, deputy director of Detention Action, which works with people facing removal, said unaccompanied minors or children under the age of 18 should not be in detention in the first place. “In theory detention should be an absolute last resort, rather than an early step you would go to,” he said.

This is a prime example of how Priti Patel’s Home Office treats UK citizens, isn’t it?

Let’s consider the Home Office’s comments on this case…

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We rely on information provided by our policing partners when an individual is referred to Immigration Enforcement. In this case, the individual declared himself to British Transport Police to be an adult male. Police nurses assessed him and raised no physical or mental health issues.”

Yeah, but did they? Really? a non-verbal 17-year-old?

I have a doubt about that.

I don’t think the person declared himself to be anything at all.

I don’t think nurses assessed him in anything like an adequate way.

do think that this case reveals serious failures in Home Office procedures.

And I think it is Priti Patel’s responsibility to sort them out.

But I don’t think – for a single minute – that she is in any way capable, or responsible enough, to take the necessary steps.

Source: Non-verbal black teenager who has never left UK detained at immigration centre

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Patel strikes again: asylum seekers to be deported to African dictatorship

Justifying the unacceptable: as always, Priti Patel has shown herself to be callous, immoral and possibly homicidal.

Priti Patel has announced a “cruel and inhumane” deal to transport asylum seekers crossing the English Channel to Rwanda – a country where her own government has expressed concern about “extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture”.

Patel praised the record of the east African country on human rights. It was the site of the genocide of 800,000 people, exactly 28 years ago in 1994, in which members of the minority Tutsi group were murdered by the majority Hutus.

The genocide was carried out with shocking efficiency. Lists of Hutu government opponents were handed out to militias who killed them, along with all of their families. ID cards bored details of people’s ethnic group, so militias set up roadblocks where Tutsis were slaughtered. Thousands of Tutsi women were forced to become sex slaves.

The slaughter ended after 100 days, when the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front when a military victory against the Hutu government. The country is currently a dictatorship run by the RPF.

Critics of current president Paul Kagame have been murdered – or suffered assassination attempts – and concerns have been raised about the conviction on terrorism charges of Paul Rusesabagina, subject of Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda about his role saving more than 1,000 people during the genocide.

Only last year, the UK government – of which Priti Patel is Home Secretary – expressed serious concerns to the United Nations over “continued restrictions to civil and political rights and media freedom” in Rwanda, and called for independent investigations into those “allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture”.

And now Patel wants to send vulnerable refugees, who may have been victims of atrocity and torture, to this country. Perhaps she considers Rwanda’s record to be mild in comparison with her own views on what should happen to asylum-seekers.

It is – and always has been – a bizarre pose from the daughter of economic migrants from Uganda (originally of Indian origin). If she thinks the current wave of asylum seekers should not be allowed to stay in the UK, why haven’t she and all her family packed themselves off back to Uganda?

And is this really about solving the UK’s illegal immigration problem – or about saving ‘Big Dog’ Boris Johnson’s bacon?

He has been named by the Metropolitan Police as a criminal for attending illegal parties in Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdown.

According to the Telegraph, he’s facing a second fine over former communication chief Lee Cain’s leaving party, where he is understood to have made a speech and remained in attendance for a considerable amount of time.

The knock-on effect is that he has lied to Parliament – an offence for which there is only one penalty: He must resign as prime minister.

But the overprivileged, entitled criminal and liar doesn’t want to go, so it seems he is looking for a way to distract us from his crimes.

So suddenly he’s on our TV’s appealing to NIMBYs (people who say Not In My Back Yard to particular events or plans) across the UK to support what he called a “shared humanitarian impulse” with a nation whose human rights record is, let’s be honest – terrifying.

This Writer hopes it’s a grave miscalculation.

People don’t want to be overcome by waves of refugees seeking to settle in the UK in response to the foreign adventures of Tory (and other) governments who have merrily bombed their own countries into rubble, but there is an obvious answer to that: stop bombing their countries.

The excuse that asylum seekers are encouraging and enriching people smugglers is a lie. In fact, Johnson’s government – and especially Patel herself – is encouraging people smugglers by closing off all legal routes into the UK.

He says they should only take such legal routes, but that is impossible when they don’t exist!

So I hope the people of the UK see through this transparent attempt to whitewash a dirty, corrupt politician by scapegoating people who only want to be able to live in peace, in a peaceful country.

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Dementia patient deported by Patel; Labour councillor wants ‘anti-migrant militia’ [Also in the news]

Border Force: while a Labour councillor calls for the creation of migrant vigilante groups, Priti Patel has deported a dementia patient.

Lots to get through tonight and no time for commentary:

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Racist Patel strikes again: Jamaicans are being targeted for deportation by Home Office

Patel: see the posters behind her? The only UK aid she likes is helping foreigners off British soil. Odd, considering she is herself the daughter of immigrants.

Priti Patel’s Home Office has been disproportionately targeting Jamaicans for deportation.

And it seems clear officials know their actions are racist. Otherwise why would they have spent a year trying to withhold the information after The Guardian made a simple Freedom of Information request?

Jamaicans are 10 per cent more likely to be deported than people from other countries, even though the same rule applies to all of them:

Under the UK Borders Act 2007, foreign nationals who are jailed for a single offence for at least 12 months will normally be considered for deportation on their release, with exceptions under human rights rules – for example, having children in the UK, and for people who have been trafficked.

A comparison of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Home Office data between 2015 and 2020 showed that once people from European Economic Area countries were excluded, as they are not covered by the act, an average of 65% of overseas nationals jailed for at least 12 months were deported.

For Jamaican nationals, this proportion rose to 75%, however, despite the much greater likelihood of their having significant ties to the UK. For other former British colonies in the Caribbean, such as Trinidad and Tobago, and St Lucia, the rates were higher still.

The statistics also showed that 90% of Nigerian nationals were deported, and 76% of those from Ghana. For Albanians, the rate was 90%, and for Vietnamese nationals 84%.

Concern has also been registered about deportations to Albania and Vietnam, which have known issues with human trafficking connected to organised crime.

The Guardian reported that it had only been able to publish its findings after “a year-long freedom of information battle”:

While the MoJ supplied the information within weeks, the Home Office refused, saying that to do so would be “likely to prejudice diplomatic relations between the UK and a foreign government”, and could hamper the operation of immigration controls.

The Guardian appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which ruled against the Home Office, calling the department’s arguments “vague” and “generic”, and noting that no attempt had been made to substantiate them. “The commissioner will not accept at face value assertions made by a public authority that, in her view, require a proper and fuller explanation,” the ruling stated.

Even now, the Home Office has tried to justify its disproportionate targeting of people from Jamaica: “We do not target specific countries.”

The record states otherwise – because the Windrush scandal showed how the Home Office deliberately destroyed records proving that people of Jamaican origin had the right to remain in the UK, and then pursued an aggressive policy of deportation against them.

It seems Priti Patel has kept up the deportations, despite protestations of fairness.

Source: Disproportionate targeting of Jamaicans for deportation from UK, data suggests | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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