The UK Border Agency has come under flak for its failure to make obvious concrete changes to prevent further abuse and death during forced removals or deportations.
The criticism came a year after Jimmy Mubenga collapsed and died while he was being deported,
Emma Ginn from Medical Justice told the IRR News: ‘Even after Jimmy’s death, the UKBA has failed to demonstrate any concrete changes that will prevent further abuse and death. Our volunteer doctors continue to document injuries sustained during forced removals. The only decent course of action is to at least suspend the use of force until all investigations into Jimmy’s death have concluded and urgently needed lessons are learned.’
The assertion is significant as Medical Justice has documented nearly 300 injuries sustained by people during the deportation process in its report Outsourcing Abuse.
A spokesperson for No Borders said: ‘Jimmy’s death is a tragic example of the brutality of the deportation machine. With ministers competing to appear “tough on immigration” and private contractors that see detention and deportation a lucrative “market”, it is not that surprising that people are reporting abuse on a regular basis.’
The assertions came as more than 50 campaigners joined his family and friends in a vigil to observe the first anniversary of his death.
Only in October last year, Mubenga had died while he was being deported on a commercial flight from Heathrow. 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 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. His cries for help went unanswered.
Even though a year has passed since his death, Jimmy’s family is still waiting for the police to finish their probe and for the CPS to consider bringing charges against the three G4S guards arrested in connection with his death.
The vigil, outside the offices of the Crown Prosecution Service, was attended by Angolans and activists. It was supported by campaigning organisations INQUEST, Medical Justice and No Borders.
The IRR News also quoted Helen Shaw from INQUEST as saying: ‘As we pause to join Jimmy Mubenga’s family and friends in a moment of remembrance we must also reflect on the fact that Jimmy’s death followed a pattern of complaints about the use of excessive force against people being deported. The lengthy and ongoing investigation into his death must not mean that there is a lack of public scrutiny into the wider concerns about abuses and dangerous methods of restraint used on people being forcibly removed from the country that result in the risk of further deaths and serious injuries.’
INQUEST assists the families of those who died in custody.