Protestors confront Border Agency staff over mass deportation to Afghanistan, as resistance spreads across the UK!
On Monday 19 December, the UK Border Agency carried out a mass deportation of Afghan asylum seekers to Kabul.
No Borders North East organized a demonstration on the 19th of December 2011 at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) Northumbria Building, in North Shields, Tyne & Wear, UK.
They raised awareness towards a Charter flight, which was later due to depart that day. After demonstrating outside, activists then attempted to directly contact UKBA staff that had the authorization to determine the flights departure.
This follows a wave of autonomous action in the UK against charter flights. On Thursday 15th December, activists in West London had organised a protest against a UK charter flight to Sri Lanka and struck at the heart of the Government’s “unjust deportation machine”, when they blocked the road outside Colnbrook and Harmondsworth immigration prisons with ‘lock-on’ devices and a tripod. On Thursday 8th December, protestors ambushed the Nigerian High Commissioner in Central London over his support for a mass deportation to Nigeria scheduled for later that evening.
Charter flights are a numbers driven exercise to remove as many people as possible. They are conducted under a veil of secrecy which denies deportees access to justice. With the secrecy surrounding charter flights it is impossible to know how many other deportees on this, and other flights have been similarly denied access to justice and equality.
The UK asylum determination system is structured towards denying as many applications as possible. Because of this, people who are in need of sanctuary are refused status, made destitute and subjected to violent enforcement procedures. Charter flights such as this one and forced removals in general must be stopped.
Afghanistan is not safe
With regard to Afghanistan, just 2 weeks ago, Human Rights Watch reported:
‘Conflict-related violence remains a daily reality in many parts of the country.’
[Human Rights Watch – Afghanistan: A decade of Missed Opportunities 4 Dec 2011 http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/03/afghanistan-decade-missed-opportunities ]
The United Nations also has also raised concerns about conditions for people returned to Afghanistan:
‘The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that a significant number of all returnees (potentially 40 per cent) are still in need of reintegration support and that many (potentially 28 per cent) are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.’
UN, The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, 09/03/2011. http://www.ecoi.net/file_upload/1226_1300285687_n1125034.pdf
Yet the UK Border Agency ignore these reports in favour of out of date country evidence which supports their claim that Afghanistan is a safe place.
Forced removals such as this are an illustration of the violence and indifference that are essential components of the UK’s dehumanising migration regime. The vast majority of deportations have been to countries devastated by wars and armed conflicts such as Afghanistan, Iraq, DR Congo, Nigeria, Jamaica, Sri Lanka. After being forcibly deported, many have been kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Others have had to change their identities or move again to avoid persecution. Forcible deportations tear apart people’s lives as they are split from their families and communities and their right to freedom of movement is denied.
Stop Deportations! Freedom of Movement for all!
More on Afghanistan:
UK Government, on the Foreign and Commonwealth office’s website, states that Kabul is not a safe place:
‘No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts.’
‘The kidnap threat throughout the country remains high, particularly against local nationals.’
‘We advise against all but essential travel to Kabul. There are regular, indiscriminate rocket and bomb attacks in the city.’
UKBA’s own Country of Origin Information Report on Afghanistan in 2008 stated ‘It is not difficult to track people down in Afghanistan…‘