UK: Government apologises to ‘wrongfully removed and detained’ Windrush migrants

UK: Government apologises to 'wrongfully removed and detained' Windrush migrants

Sajid Javid

The UK government has formally apologised to 18 members of the Windrush generation it believes could have been wrongfully removed or detained since 2002.

The 18 people were identified during a review of removals, detentions and compliant environment measures affecting Caribbean nationals.

Evidence suggests that they came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1973 and stayed here permanently but were unable to demonstrate their continuous residence here.

Of the 18, 11 went on to voluntarily leave the country while the remaining seven were detained but subsequently released without being removed.

Four were removed and two detained prior to May 2010, while seven were removed and five detained after May 2010.

The Home Office has been in contact with 14 of the 18 people and will continue to attempt to reach out to the remaining four.

However, Amnesty International has raised concerns that the UK government is still underestimating the number of people affected.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The experiences faced by some members of the Windrush generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past.

“I would like to personally apologise to those identified in our review and am committed to providing them with the support and compensation they deserve.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again – which is why I have asked an independent adviser to look at what lessons we can learn from Windrush.”

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty UK’s refugee and migrant rights programme director, said: “The Home Secretary’s apology to just 18 individuals is worrying and brings into question whether the Home Office has a realistic grasp on all the people it has wrongly detained and removed following the exposure of its appalling treatment of the Windrush generation.

“The Government’s focus remains narrow, casting doubt on its willingness to learn the full lessons of what has gone so badly wrong. Refusal to recognise the rights of people entitled to live in this country continues even now.

“Among those being denied their rights are the thousands of children, many born in the UK, who are blocked from claiming their British citizenship rights because of a profit-making fee they cannot afford.

“The Government should urgently change tack, properly scrutinising the myriad ways in which its policies and practices continue to wrongly treat people as if ineligible or unentitled to be here and do all it can to ensure that people both know and can claim their rights.”

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