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The TUC has today (Tuesday) called on the government to urgently suspend all deportation flights and to address “the miscarriages of justice that have taken place within the immigration system”.

The call comes as more flights are planned for this summer.

The full statement to the Home Office reads:

The TUC stands for the rights of all workers from all countries, regardless of immigration status.

The TUC calls on the government to suspend deportation flights until it has fully addressed the miscarriages of justice that have taken place within the immigration system, and to scrap the new Nationality and Borders Bill that would breach international human rights law and increase worker exploitation.

The TUC is concerned that the Home Office does not adequately check the circumstances of those they targeted for deportation. Many have no family, social or financial links with the countries they are due to be deported to, and would be placed at risk of persecution, isolation and poverty.

These deportations are also taking place whilst high levels of Covid-19 infections are still present in immigration detention centres. This puts both residents and staff at risk and jeopardises the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers, those involved in the deportations, and communities in the countries that asylum seekers are deported to.

We are also concerned about the utilisation of commercial airlines and the chartering of specific flights in forced deportations and the impact this has on front-line staff, including ongoing incidents of trauma suffered by those working on flights carrying deportees.

The government’s hardening attitude, indicated by the increased rate of deportations, is reflected in the Nationality and Borders Bill, which proposes that those fleeing persecution will not have the right to claim asylum in the UK.  This is a clear breach of the UK’s commitments under the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol. The Bill also seeks to prevent many asylum seekers from being able to claim rights at work which will increase the exploitation of workers.

TUC Congress 2015 asserted the need for the government to ensure there are safe, legal routes for people fleeing persecution to claim protection in the UK, and that the rights of asylum seekers are respected.  The TUC echoes the call made by our European trade union partners for governments to uphold the UN Refugee Convention and ensure those fleeing persecution can claim asylum and rights at work.

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