25 June 2021: This is an organisation that monitors big business, as its name suggests: Corporate watch reveals the figures behind Channel-crosser deportations
Between August and December 2020, in the run-up to Brexit, the UK Home Office carried out a rush of mass deportation charter flights. This was part of a media campaign to show the government was “taking back Britain’s borders” – against the menace of desperate refugees crossing the Channel in small boats.
Corporate Watch published a detailed report on one of the first flights, on 26 August 2020, highlighting the abuse these refugees faced in the UK, and after they were dumped in Germany and France. We also profiled the airlines running these flights for the Home Office including Hi Fly, Privilege Style, and TUI.
We can now make an overall assessment of what happened: how many people were deported, to where, using what airlines, and how much it all cost.
25 June 2021:We are Young Leaders. We come from three groups led by young refugees and asylum seekers: Safe Passage Young Leaders, The KRAN Youth Forum and Hummingbird Young Leaders.
Together, we are a group of 26 young people from different backgrounds working together for a better future for young refugees and asylum seekers.
We are a community of people with experience of migration and the asylum system, brought together by humanity, and we are working to protect and defend human rights.
We are a voice for the voiceless. We have high hopes that together we can make a change.
We believe that the Government needs to make fundamental changes in policy to ensure that people fleeing war and persecution can access safe routes to sanctuary. Through a series of group workshops and discussions, we have worked together to agree on the following list of eight recommendations.
The undersigned civil society organizations write to express our grave concern about widespread, unlawful, and sometimes severe mistreatment of migrants at and around international borders around the world and to call on the Human Rights Council to take appropriate action by establishing an independent monitoring mechanism on pushbacks and collective expulsions, and the accompanying violations used to enact them.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today urging world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.
Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report released today in Geneva. This is a further four per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.
The report shows that by the end of 2020 there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate, 5.7 million Palestine refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced (IDPs) within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers. These numbers indicate that despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire, conflict continued to chase people from their homes.
“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.”
“While the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
Girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come.
“The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Grandi.
The report also notes that at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, over 160 countries had closed their borders, with 99 States making no exception for people seeking protection. Yet with improved measures – such as medical screenings at borders, health certification or temporary quarantine upon arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviewing, more and more countries found ways to ensure access to asylum while trying to stem the spread of the pandemic.
While people continued to flee across borders, millions more were displaced within their own countries. Driven mostly by crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia the number of internally displaced people rose by more than 2.3 million.
Reports coming in from around the country about serious delays in the changeover of ‘Aspen’ card provider on 21 May 2021, leaving people destitute; see the Home Office ‘fix’ as an attachment below … but people are still without money for food two weeks later.
Updated 14 June 2021: Faith is still waiting … see the post below of 7 June 2021.
Abolish Detention, which is campaigning to prevent the opening of a detention centre in Hassockfield/Medomsley, is asking for support for a campaign against the multinational Mitie which is running adverts to recruit people to run its new women only detention prison near Durham. Mitie was condemned by the prison inspectorate in 2016 which said its immigration detention centres were “dirty”, “rundown” and “insanitary. It is one of the UK’s biggest detention profiteers: it runs the two Heathrow detention centres and has a £525 million deportation “escorting” contract with an annual turnover of £2.2billion.
Please join the campaign and take action – see below for what you can do – thank you.
7 June 2021: Widad Akreyi: Artin: The Drowned Kurdish Boy Found in Norway. He and his family fled oppression in Iran. Their journey ended when a crowded boat sank in the English Channel. But Artin disappeared in the waves. After 67 days his corpse was found in Karmøy, Norway. Our tragedies never end…
Loraine Masiya Mponela was with us today for our Solidarity event, and here she is as one of the Lady Godivas in Coventry this evening. Hear her talking about the need for everyone to have dignity and equality:
Coventry: Who are the women who are doing amazing things?
There is a moment in Martin Luther King’s historic ‘I have a dream’ speech when he turns his attention to the White people who, realising their destiny and that of their Black fellow citizens was intertwined, joined the movement for equal rights.
“They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom,” he said. “We cannot walk alone.”[…]
The theme of Refugee Week 2021, ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’, is an invitation to extend your hand to someone new. Someone who is outside your current circle, has had an experience you haven’t, or is fighting for a cause you aren’t yet involved in.