UN special rapporteur asked to examine conditions shrouding his death
4th May 2011: Just about six months after Jimmy Mubenga collapsed while he was being escorted on a flight from Heathrow airport in London, campaigners are sending a file on the victim to the United Nations.
They are asking the UN special rapporteur on torture to go into the conditions shrouding the death of the Angolan man who collapsed while being deported on a commercial flight from Heathrow.
The file is also being sent to each member of the Commons home affairs select committee. They too are being asked to carry out a comprehensive review of the way deportations from the UK take place.
The file is, rather, being forwarded to UN special rapporteurs on extra-judicial summary executions, torture and contemporary forms of racism, and also the Council of Europe’s committee on the prevention of torture.
The campaigners apprehend legal process could take months or even years. The review of the UK deportations was, as such, required to prevent a further tragedy.
Deborah Coles of the Inquest charity says given the profound human rights issues that this case raises they feel we need to put pressure not only on parliament but also on the UN so that these issues are examined properly by the state and international human rights mechanisms to ensure enforceable and accountable learning.
Putting up in east London with their five children, Mubenga’s wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana says she is supporting the move.
Describing Jimmy as a loving and caring father and husband, she says they do not understand why he was being deported. She adds they do not want this to happen to anyone else and want to know how and why this happened to Jimmy.
Coles says the legal processes underway will mean the systemic issues raised by this death will not be dealt with in a comprehensive or holistic way for a very long time thus frustrating the learning process and the risk of further deaths.
Already, United Nations independent experts on human rights have aired concern over the reported death onboard a flight.
UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Jorge Bustamante, in fact, said he was disturbed at the manner in which migrants were being treated with no dignity at all.
An Angolan refugee, Mubenga was in the custody of guards for a private security company, after his appeal to remain in the European country was rejected.
Mubenga reportedly died 50 minutes after boarding a British Airways flight at Heathrow airport in London on 13 October 2010. He was reportedly surrounded by three guards working for G4S, a private security company, when he died.