Call for 2 weeks of Action 2017

2 WEEKS OF ACTION against charter flights planned for 9th to 24th January 2017, during which a charter flight is expected for Nigeria and Ghana. Actions have been called for by the Nigerian Deportation Group and people deported to Jamaica on the charter flight of September 7th 2016, supported by groups in the UK such as Movement for Justice, and The Unity Centre.

 

We are calling on all anti racist and migrant rights organisations to take action against charter flights during these weeks in January. Demonstrations will be held in local communities and at embassies in the UK, Jamaica and Nigeria, but we also ask autonomous groups to target Titan Airways (who provide the planes for these modern day slave ships) and Tascor (who provide the ‘escorts’), and welcome any other ideas.

 

 

 

For a calendar of what is taking place see here.

 

Facebook event here.

 

 

 If you have any information/experiences/resources you want be added to the website, or want to campaign against deportations or spread an urgent action appeal, get in touch at: watchdeportations@riseup.net

 

Statement from Nigeria Deportation Group, Movement for Justice & deportees in Jamaica

 

 

 

Nigeria and Jamaica: stop colluding with the UK Racism!

 

No more mass deportations!

 

There will be over 2 weeks of international action taking place in Nigeria, Jamaica and the UK from the 7th to 24th January 2017, in protest of the British government’s racist and unjust policy of mass deportation charter flights to Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Pakistan, Albania, and soon Afghanistan.

 

Charter flights are targeting long-established African, Asian and Caribbean communities in Britain – dividing families and deporting people who have built lives in the UK, who have parents, partners and children here, people who have lived most of their lives in Britain, students who have not finished their courses, those who have sought asylum and protection, people with serious health problems and others who are long-term carers to elderly and disabled relatives. Targeting so many people who are integrated members of their communities and wider society is a divisive act of racist discrimination.

 

 

We demand that the governments of Nigeria and Jamaica stop collaborating with the ongoing coloniser of the British government in regularly and violently deporting people en masse against their will. The Nigerian High Commission profit from these charter flights: up to 100 people are forcibly removed via charter flight to Nigeria and Ghana every other month from the UK, whilst they are paid £70 for every travel document they issue for individuals on the flight. With these flights, the UK government is able to continue their racist attacks on Nigerians and Ghanians, as they collectively expel people on charter flights in which passengers are defined by their perceived nationality. And they are not stopping anytime soon without resistance: The UK just recently build a special “Returns Reception Centre” to “welcome” back those deported to Nigeria.

 

The Nigerian High Commission states that “before any Nigerian is deported, the High Commission always insists that: their citizenship has been proved beyond reasonable doubt; they are medically fit; they are allowed to exhaust all their legal remedies; for those who have stayed in the UK for more than 15 years, proof of existence of friends and relations as well as capacity to reintegrate.” This statement can be understood to be completely false, as the Nigerian government is paid £70 per person by the Home Office to interview people in detention and issue them with emergency travel documents – even when these conditions have not been met – as reported by The Unity Centre.

 

There has been active resistance to charter flights from inside detention centres, with women detained in Yarl’s Wood previously collectively refusing to be taken from detention to coaches destined for the airport. Since then, it has become practice for detention centre staff to put women in isolation one-by-one several days before a charter flight – “so we can’t be in solidarity and stop the flight together” as one woman detained said.

 

People inside detention, issued tickets for charter flights ask for demonstrations of solidarity and resistance from people with the privilege to do so. In West Africa, the Caribbean and the diaspora the reminder of the horrors of the slave trade and the comparison with the fate of refugees and immigrants in the Mediterranean are too powerful to ignore. In the words of one woman detained in Yarl’s Wood, “It really reminds us of the history you read about slaves. When they used to take people and put them in the ships, to take them and go and sell them. Now, they are doing this here. Yarl’s Wood is a slave ship. They take you from here and put you on a charter flight…. We are treated as animals.” In the words of another detainee, “The people in the Mediterranean, we are like this. This is our ship, we are drowning.”

 

 

 

These are the words of one of those deported on the charter flight to Jamaica in September…

In September a charter flight left the UK for the first time in 2 years to Jamaica. I was one of the 42 people deported, taken from my partner and kids to a country where I have nothing and know no one. I lived in the UK for 17 years, since I was 14.

The lawyers in the UK took all my money, and now I have so little I can’t even afford a bed to sleep on. I can’t find a job and I have no family here. My kids in the UK need clothes and food that my wife can’t afford with the small support given to her. I don’t care about myself I just want to help my kids. Why hurt my kids too?

Nobody will help me here, the organisations they just say that there is nothing they can do – even the National Organisation of Deported Migrants who are paid by the British High Commission to help deportees and legitimise our deportation to Jamaica. We are just kicked out to the streets. The British government forgot what they did to my grandfather but we forgave them for it.

In the UK is my mother, brothers, sister, nieces, nephews – my whole family – but because Jamaicans are no good in the eyes of the British government they treat us with no respect. They strap me up on the plane like a dog in chains. Who is going to help us?

On the 7th of September 2016 I was hurt in many ways. I feel like I’ve been kidnapped. I have to hide in Jamaica now because of the violence in Spanish Town. I still want to have a life but I feel like I can’t breathe. The stress and pressure of every day alone with no one to talk to is going to kill me. Please help us. Give us strength to keep fighting and stop this inhumane suffering.

 

 

 

The Nigerian women in Yarl’s Wood who successfully resisted the November 2015 charter flight wrote the following….

Nigeria, where is your backbone? Where is your pride? Where is your freedom?

End October 2015, the Vice president visited the UK with some encouraging words that Nigeria is moving forward. That is further from the truth.

The truth is, as Mr Osinbanjo was making these statements, the British government was busy preparing another chartered flight to deport people back to Nigeria. This has become a frequent arrangement; in fact there is a chartered flight every 2 months, falling on the last Tuesday of the month. The last flight was on 29th September 2015, the next is scheduled for Tuesday 24th November 2015.

With these flights, the UK government are able to continue their racist and continuous attacks on Nigerians, Ghanaians and other countries that are scheduled on the flight, save in the knowledge that the Nigerian government is in their pocket.

Many atrocities have been committed through these flights. Mothers have been separated from their children who are unfortunate to be born to Nigerian parents as the government do not fight for their rights. Instead, they are part of the thousands that the government of Nigeria has sold off to the British government. Welcome back to the slave trade!!!!

Nigeria, how much are your citizens worth? How much are you selling our rights and future?

Nigeria has given the UK government the authorisation and access to land their chartered flights at the naval base in Lagos near Murtala airport where deportees are dumped off like cargo. They are dumped off and made to go through the frightening, degrading and humiliating process where the Nigeria immigration officers demand bribe to let them go easily. This is after the officers have pocketed the money Home Office give them to pass to deportees for transport to their final destination in Nigeria. £150 per head is a nice earner for the immigration officers in Nigeria. So why would they stop colluding with the British government? Why would they check that the British government has acted lawfully in deporting people that are medically unfit to travel? Why would they want to stop these chartered flights?

Each flight cost the UK at least £250,000 as recently reported in the media, and they intend to get as many people on the flight as possible, by any means possible. That means separating families if need be, picking on vulnerable people and taking advantage of the sick.

Nigeria, where were you when the UK was deporting young adults who have spent the majority of their lives outside of Nigeria and have no relative to return to;  whose only crimes were to be born to Nigerian parents?

Nigeria, where were you when the UK was preventing many gifted young people from attending university though discriminatory legislations that prevented them from attending university just because they do not have indefinite leave to remain?

Nigeria, where were you when women with cancer were removed on chartered flights? Where was your patriotism when people who do not know Nigeria and people with mental health issues were dumped in Nigeria to fend for themselves in a foreign country?

Where were you when people with on-going cases were deported?

Where were your voices? Where were your principles?

Nigeria sold us off many years ago to her slave master, the British government.

Nigerians, this is the time to wake up.

We refuse to be slaves to the British government.

We refuse to have our rights trampled on.

We refuse to be sold off by our government.

Why have an embassy that does nothing to assist its citizens; whose power has been taken away by the British government? This is modern slavery.

We refuse to be slaves to the British government.

No more chartered flights to Nigeria.

No more injustice – No more hate crime.

WE SAY NO MORE.

Stop colluding with the racist attacks of the British government.

Fight for Nigeria – Fight for our freedom.

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