Author: DAVID MADDOX
A DAMNING report has concluded that immigration officials used their powers unlawfully to detain members of the Windrush generation who were entitled to be in Britain. The Home Office’s treatment of the cases had been “shocking”, MPs and peers on the Joint Committee on Human Rights said.
And it called for a “fundamental change in the law, culture and procedures” to ensure human rights are properly protected.
The scandal came to a head earlier this year when it emerged hundreds of Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK in the years up to 1973 and were entitled to be in the country had been threatened with deportation.
It led to the resignation of Home Secretary Amber Rudd and a Government promise of compensation.
The committee looked at two cases of individuals who came from Jamaica as children in the 1960s.
Both were held in detention twice after they were unable to provide documentation to prove their immigration status.
The Home Office required standards of proof beyond that legally required and that were impossible to meet, the report found.
It said: “It is for the Home Office to satisfy itself that it has a power to detain an individual – not for an individual to have to satisfy the Home Office that they should not be detained.”
The report added: “Detention powers have been used unlawfully and inappropriately.”
It said it was “unacceptable” that the rights of a whole category of people with a legal right to be in the UK had been overlooked by officials.
And it demanded changes that would ensure nothing like this could ever happen again.
Committee chair Harriet Harman said: “What happened to these two people was a total violation of their human rights by the state’s most powerful government department.”
The Home Office said Home Secretary Sajid Javid has apologised and made clear lessons must be learned.