Charter Flight Monitoring Team 2019 annual report published

Enforced removal of people from the UK on chartered flights
continues to involve high levels of use of restraints on some.

 The Independent Monitoring Boards’ Charter Flight Monitoring team- made up of a team of volunteers appointed by ministers to ensure people removed from the UK on chartered flights are treated humanely – today publishes its annual report for 2019.

There was a significant reduction in enforced removal by charter during 2019.  However, as in each of the last two years, the Independent Monitoring Boards’ Charter Flight Monitoring Team (IMB CFMT) remains concerned.

In its annual report for 2019, covering removals to France, Germany, Jamaica, Kosovo and Switzerland and the UK end of an operation to West Africa, the IMB CFMT found:

  • No evidence that Dublin Convention returnees had been properly prepared for removal from the UK;
  • Ill-judged use of restraints in some cases;
  • Patchy on-the-spot oversight by the Home Office;
  • Lack of continuous access to professional interpreting services for Dublin Convention returnees;
  • Returnees enduring long periods of confinement in coaches;
  • Returnees being denied dignity and privacy whilst using toilet facilities.

The IMB CFMT expressed particular concern about the approach to three returnees who had just self-harmed in an attempt to thwart their removal.  They were required to leave the UK that day nonetheless.

 

Chartered Flight Monitoring Chair, Lou Lockhart-Mummery, said:

“It is important to have independent monitors present during the removal process to observe whether the returnees are treated fairly and with humanity during a stressful experience.   We observed empathetic responses to the needs of some individuals. The escorts showed good inter-personal skills when dealing with English-speaking returnees.

“However, we consider that the approach would be greatly improved if the dignity and vulnerability of the individual returnee was acknowledged in all aspects of the removal process on the day and if the use of force or restraint was consistently based on a well-judged individual risk assessment and was continually reviewed”.