At least five men have been killed in the year since they were deported to Jamaica from the UK, and many more deportees have been left living in fear for their lives.
The government does not keep records on people after they have been deported, but a Guardian investigation found that Owen Clarke, 62, Dewayne Robinson, 37, Alphonso Harriott, 56, Paul Mitchell, 50, and Hugh Bennett, 48, who were all deported after March 2018, have been killed.
Many more people that spoke to the outlet said that they feared for their own lives because of commonplace violence in the country.
I need to get out of Jamaica. It is never safe here. Every day I hear about someone else who is in danger. Sometimes there are nine murders a week here.
Deportee from UK to Jamaica
“People walking down the street with a gun is as common a sight as someone walking down the street in London carrying a bottle of water,” said one man who was deported.
The man, whose two children remain in the UK, is trying to raise the legal funds to fight to return to the UK, since cases like his are beyond the scope of legal aid.
“I need to get out of Jamaica. It is never safe here. Every day I hear about someone else who is in danger. Sometimes there are nine murders a week here,” he said.
One Of The Highest Murder Rates In The World
Image Credit: Steve Eason/Flickr
Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the worlds, with 47 murders per 100,000 people. In the UK, there are about 12 murders per one million people.
Some of the deportees say that their pictures were published in a Kingston paper when they landed, making them targets for violence.
To protect themselves, they avoid going outside and hide their British accents when talking. Some people said that they deleted their social media accounts because they feared being enlisted by gangs.
It is a clear breach of human rights legislation to send them back to a country where their life could be in serious danger.
Naga Kandiah, Public Law Solicitor, MTC & Co
It is believed that the men who were killed may have been involved in gangs and drug dealings but Naga Kandiah, a public law solicitor at MTC & Co, explained that the UK and the Home Office have a responsibility to ensure the safety of deportees regardless of their background, especially as it is prohibited to deport someone to a country where their life may be in danger.
“Nobody is saying that these men had not committed crimes, but it is a clear breach of human rights legislation to send them back to a country where their life could be in serious danger,” Kandiah explained.
A spokeswoman for the End Deportations campaign group added: “It’s sickening but sadly not surprising that people who the Home Office have deported have been killed. These deportations must be stopped immediately before more lives are lost.”
The UK”s Human Rights Obligations
Image credit: Global Justice Now/Flickr
Five men who told the Guardian they feared for their lives were some of the first people to be deported after the 2018 Windrush scandal, where it was revealed that children of Caribbean parents who came to live in the UK between 1948 and 1971 were being detained and deported for not having citizenship, despite never knowing a home outside of the UK.
The detention and deportation of these people was found to be a “total violation of their human rights”, by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. In their report, the committee called for a more humane approach to immigration enforcement which would stop a repeat scandal.
In light of the revelations by the Guardian, charities have accused the Home Office of failing to improve its immigration policies and rather adding an additional punishment by putting deportees in danger.
It is incredibly disturbing that the government continues to pursue deportations at the expense of its human rights obligations.
Gracie Bradley, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Liberty
“It is incredibly disturbing that the government continues to pursue deportations at the expense of its human rights obligations, which stipulate that people must not be deported to situations where they face threats to their life, torture or ill-treatment,” explained Gracie Bradley, the policy and campaigns manager for Liberty.
“These worrying incidents further highlight why the practice of deportation post-conviction is a discriminatory form of double punishment that should be scrapped.”
A Home Office spokesman said that those who were deported had “no legal right to remain in the UK”.
“Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts deem it is safe to do so.
“Should the Home Office receive any specific allegations that a returnee has experienced ill-treatment on return to their country of origin, these would be investigated in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” a spokesperson said.