Over 400 people have been deported by charter flights to Iraqi Kurdistan in the last eight months. Campaigners argue that deportation charter flights amount to 'collective expulsion', which is prohibited under Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK signed the Protocol in 1963 but has never ratified it.
One of the campaigners, Richard Whittell, said:
"The fact that the UK government is still refusing to ratify Protocol 4 is very telling about its policy on immigration and asylum. Despite the Home Office's mantra that deportations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, there is evidence that, in many cases, deportees had outstanding appeals or were awaiting judicial reviews but were still deported because the charter flight had to be filled."
Charter flight deportees are usually notified in their Removal Directions letter that "removal will not necessarily be deferred in the event that a judicial review is lodged." Chapter 60 of the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance, which explains the notice that must to be provided of any removal and how the UK Border Agency should respond to any challenge to this, states that chartered flights "may be subject to different arrangements where it is considered appropriate because of the complexities, practicalities and costs of arranging an operation."
1. For more details on the Tinsley blockade, see our previous press releases:
2. Photos of the action are available here:
High-res versions are available on request.
3. For more details on Iraq deportation charter flights, see: