UKBA under fire for ignoring deportees’ health concerns

Blamed for not ensuring vaccination against yellow fever
29th October 2010: Already in line of fire after the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga, the UK Border Agency has come under criticism for not ensuring deportees are vaccinated for yellow fever.
Reports are trickling in that vaccination is not given to some of the people removed to countries where yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entry.

The reports suggest that a woman and her UK-born child were removed to Cameroon last May without the child being vaccinated.

It has now emerged that their appeal was rejected following a letter from the UKBA that there was no facility or obligation at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre to provide yellow fever vaccine.

It was added in the letter that “the Healthcare Manager at Yarl’s Wood has confirmed that the vaccine can be given on arrival in the Cameroon and would be effective straightaway”.

The assertion was in sharp contrast to the advise issued to the travellers. In fact, all travellers are categorically told to obtain yellow fever vaccination 10 days before travel for achieving adequate levels of immunity.

Rather, the vaccination certificates become valid 10 days after immunisation.

The act on the part of the authorities concerned is being seen as an example of indifference in providing preventive or medical care to the deportees.

Already, United Nations independent experts on human rights have aired concern over Jimmy Mubenga’s 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 had collapsed while he was being escorted on a flight from Heathrow airport in London. He was in the custody of guards for a private security company, after his appeal to remain in the European country was rejected.

Expressing concern, Bustamante in a statement said: ‘I am disturbed at seeing the manner in which migrants are being treated, with no dignity at all, due to the criminalization of irregular migration which leads to such a situation.’

Bustamante said: ‘I hope the fact that British Airways staff responsible for safety and security on board did not intervene, despite numerous cries for help, is not a reflection of a growing indifference to the human rights of persons under custody of an authority.

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