Celebrities demand airlines stop mass deportation flight to Jamaica

Support us and go ad-free

Supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton are among a host of prominent figures calling on airlines not to operate a mass deportation flight to Jamaica next week.

“Unlawful and wrongful”

The open letter is addressed to the bosses of multiple airlines including Hi Fly, Titan Airways, and TUI UK and Ireland. In it more than 90 high-profile figures, campaigners, and activists have urged the companies to decline to operate the planned 2 December flight.

They are also calling for a pause on the operation of future deportation flights to Commonwealth countries.

The letter, which also includes actress Naomie Harris and former Metropolitan Police superintendent Leroy Logan among its signatories, says the planned deportation of “up to 50 people” risks the “unlawful and wrongful removal of people who have the right to remain in the UK” – highlighting the ongoing Windrush scandal as a primary reason why the flight is “wholly inappropriate”.

Hostilities

The government said those on board the flight would include “dangerous foreign criminals” – including convicted rapists and murderers – and none of the offenders are eligible for the Windrush Scheme.

A report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission this week found the Home Office failed to comply with equality law when implementing “hostile environment” immigration measures, contributing to serious injustices faced by the Windrush generation. According to the authors of the letter, the report’s findings:

call into question the Home Office’s competency to deal with the continuing injustices it has created.

Until justice has been delivered for all Commonwealth Windrush victims, any deportations to Commonwealth countries risk further unlawful removals of Windrush generation members or Windrush descendants who may have the right to remain in the UK but do not yet have the required paperwork.

The letter claims one of the men deported to Jamaica in a flight in February “was the grandson of a woman who arrived on the HMT Empire Windrush and is still seeking to have his deportation order revoked”.

It adds some of the people due to be deported are believed to have been in the UK since childhood, while others are at “grave risk” of harm if they are removed from the UK.

No apologies

A Home Office spokesperson told the PA news agency:

We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe. Each week we remove foreign criminals from the UK to different countries who have no right to be here, this flight is no different. The people being detained for this flight include convicted murderers and rapists.

The letter also said:

The credible risks of unlawful and wrongful deportations should be considered against a backdrop of concern about systemic racism. In an already challenging festive period … we ask you to reflect on whether the operation of this flight would comply with your corporate social responsibility values.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us