• Hypermarchés, la chute de l’empire

    Le modèle de l’hypermarché a-t-il fait son temps ? Ce concept révolutionnaire du « tout sous le même toit », popularisé en 1963 par Carrefour, a conquis le monde entier. Aujourd’hui pourtant, le pionnier français, comme ses concurrents, a un genou à terre. En cause notamment, la crise du gigantisme, associé à une déshumanisation du commerce et à la surconsommation, pointée du doigt à l’heure des grands défis écologiques, mais aussi la concurrence du e-commerce. Désormais, tout le secteur cherche à sauver ce qui peut l’être, quitte à verser dans des pratiques à la limite de la légalité. Pour obtenir des prix toujours plus bas, sans lesquels elles seraient désertées, les grandes enseignes mettent les fournisseurs de plus en plus sous pression.

    http://www.film-documentaire.fr/4DACTION/w_fiche_film/19158_1

    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire
    #consommation #grande_distribution #Amazon #hypermarchés #hypermarché #Marcel_Fournier #Carrefour #consommation_de_masse #prix #crise #guerre_des_prix #fournisseurs #omerta #RCD #rétorsions #justice #distributeurs #coopernic #CWT #AgeCore #Horizon_International #Suisse #accords_internationaux #Genève #Nestlé #pratiques_commerciales_abusives #Carrefour_Franchising #franchising #illégalité #Whole_Foods #secteur_alimentaire #Amazon_Fresh #JD.com #robotisation #Agriculture_Brain #industrie_agro-alimentaire #intelligence_artificielle #AI #IA #Slovaquie #Amazon_Prime #concurrence #e-commerce #automatisation #centre-ville #Carrefour_City #technologie

  • Cast away : the UK’s rushed charter flights to deport Channel crossers

    Warning: this document contains accounts of violence, attempted suicides and self harm.

    The British government has vowed to clamp down on migrants crossing the Channel in small boats, responding as ever to a tabloid media panic. One part of its strategy is a new wave of mass deportations: charter flights, specifically targeting channel-crossers, to France, Germany and Spain.

    There have been two flights so far, on the 12 and 26 August. The next one is planned for 3 September. The two recent flights stopped in both Germany (Duesseldorf) and France (Toulouse on the 12, Clermont-Ferrand on the 26). Another flight was planned to Spain on 27 August – but this was cancelled after lawyers managed to get everyone off the flight.

    Carried out in a rush by a panicked Home Office, these mass deportations have been particularly brutal, and may have involved serious legal irregularities. This report summarises what we know so far after talking to a number of the people deported and from other sources. It covers:

    The context: Calais boat crossings and the UK-France deal to stop them.

    In the UK: Yarl’s Wood repurposed as Channel-crosser processing centre; Britannia Hotels; Brook House detention centre as brutal as ever.

    The flights: detailed timeline of the 26 August charter to Dusseldorf and Clermont-Ferrand.

    Who’s on the flight: refugees including underage minors and torture survivors.

    Dumped on arrival: people arriving in Germany and France given no opportunity to claim asylum, served with immediate expulsion papers.

    The legalities: use of the Dublin III regulation to evade responsibility for refugees.

    Is it illegal?: rushed process leads to numerous irregularities.

    “that night, eight people cut themselves”

    “That night before the flight (25 August), when we were locked in our rooms and I heard that I had lost my appeal, I was desperate. I started to cut myself. I wasn’t the only one. Eight people self-harmed or tried to kill themselves rather than be taken on that plane. One guy threw a kettle of boiling water on himself. One man tried to hang himself with the cable of the TV in his room. Three of us were taken to hospital, but sent back to the detention centre after a few hours. The other five they just took to healthcare [the clinic in Brook House] and bandaged up. About 5 in the morning they came to my room, guards with riot shields. On the way to the van, they led me through a kind of corridor which was full of people – guards, managers, officials from the Home Office. They all watched while a doctor examined me, then the doctor said – ‘yes, he’s fit to fly’. On the plane later I saw one guy hurt really badly, fresh blood on his head and on his clothes. He hadn’t just tried to stop the ticket, he really wanted to kill himself. He was taken to Germany.”

    Testimony of a deported person.

    The context: boats and deals

    Since the 1990s, tens of thousands of people fleeing war, repression and poverty have crossed the “short straits” between Calais and Dover. Until 2018, people without papers attempting to cross the Channel did so mainly by getting into lorries or on trains through the Channel Tunnel. Security systems around the lorry parks, tunnel and highway were escalated massively following the eviction of the big Jungle in 2016. This forced people into seeking other, ever more dangerous, routes – including crossing one of the world’s busiest waterways in small boats. Around 300 people took this route in 2018, a further 2000 in 2019 – and reportedly more than 5,000 people already by August 2020.

    These crossings have been seized on by the UK media in their latest fit of xenophobic scaremongering. The pattern is all too familiar since the Sangatte camp of 1999: right-wing media outlets (most infamously the Daily Mail, but also others) push-out stories about dangerous “illegals” swarming across the Channel; the British government responds with clampdown promises.

    Further stoked by Brexit, recent measures have included:

    Home Secretary Priti Patel announcing a new “Fairer Borders” asylum and immigration law that she promises will “send the left into meltdown”.

    A formal request from the Home Office to the Royal Navy to assist in turning back migrants crossing by boat (although this would be illegal).

    Negotiations with the French government, leading to the announcement on 13 August of a “joint operational plan” aimed at “completely cutting this route.”

    The appointment of a “Clandestine Channel Threat Commander” to oversee operations on both sides of the Channel.

    The concrete measures are still emerging, but notable developments so far include:

    Further UK payments to France to increase security – reportedly France demanded £30 million.

    French warships from the Naval base at Cherbourg patrolling off the coast of Calais and Dunkirk.

    UK Border Force Cutters and Coastal Patrol Vessels patrolling the British side, supported by flights from Royal Air Force surveillance planes.

    The new charter flight deportation programme — reportedly named “Operation Sillath” by the Home Office.

    For the moment, at least, the governments are respecting their minimal legal obligations to protect life at sea. And there has not been evidence of illegal “push backs” or “pull backs”: where the British “push” or the French “pull” boats back across the border line by force. When these boats are intercepted in French waters the travellers are taken back to France. If they make it into UK waters, Border Force pick them up and disembark them at Dover. They are then able to claim asylum in the UK.

    There is no legal difference in claiming asylum after arriving by boat, on a plane, or any other way. However, these small boat crossers have been singled out by the government to be processed in a special way seemingly designed to deny them the right to asylum in the UK.

    Once people are safely on shore the second part of Priti Patel’s strategy to make this route unviable kicks in: systematically obstruct their asylum claims and, where possible, deport them to France or other European countries. In practice, there is no way the Home Office can deport everyone who makes it across. Rather, as with the vast majority of immigration policy, the aim is to display toughness with a spectacle of enforcement – not only in an attempt to deter other arrivals, but perhaps, above all else, to play to key media audiences.

    This is where the new wave of charter flights come in. Deportations require cooperation from the destination country, and the first flight took place on 12 August in the midst of the Franco-British negotiations. Most recently, the flights have fed a new media spectacle in the UK: the Home Office attacking “activist lawyers” for doing their job and challenging major legal flaws in these rushed removals.

    The Home Office has tried to present these deportation flights as a strong immediate response to the Channel crossings. The message is: if you make it across, you’ll be back again within days. Again, this is more spectacle than reality. All the people we know of on the flights were in the UK for several months before being deported.

    In the UK: Yarl’s Wood repurposed

    Once on shore people are taken to one of two places: either the Kent Intake Unit, which is a Home Office holding facility (i.e., a small prefab cell complex) in the Eastern Docks of Dover Port; or the Dover police station. This police stations seems increasingly to be the main location, as the small “intake unit” is often at capacity. There used to be a detention centre in Dover where new arrivals were held, notorious for its run-down state, but this was closed in October 2015.

    People are typically held in the police station for no more than a day. The next destination is usually Yarl’s Wood, the Bedfordshire detention centre run by Serco. This was, until recently, a longer term detention centre holding mainly women. However, on 18 August the Home Office announced Yarl’s Wood been repurposed as a “Short Term Holding Facility” (SHTF) specifically to process people who have crossed the Channel. People stay usually just a few days – the legal maximum stay for a “short term” facility is seven days.

    Yarl’s Wood has a normal capacity of 410 prisoners. According to sources at Yarl’s Wood:

    “last week it was almost full with over 350 people detained. A few days later this number
    had fallen to 150, showing how quickly people are moving through the centre. As of Tuesday 25th of August there was no one in the centre at all! It seems likely that numbers will fluctuate in line with Channel crossings.”

    The same source adds:

    “There is a concern about access to legal aid in Yarl’s Wood. Short Term Holding Facility regulations do not require legal advice to be available on site (in Manchester, for example, there are no duty lawyers). Apparently the rota for duty lawyers is continuing at Yarl’s Wood for the time being. But the speed with which people are being processed now means that it is practically impossible to sign up and get a meeting with the duty solicitor before being moved out.”

    The Home Office conducts people’s initial asylum screening interviews whilst they are at Yarl’s Wood. Sometimes these are done in person, or sometimes by phone.

    This is a crucial point, as this first interview decides many people’s chance of claiming asylum in the UK. The Home Office uses information from this interview to deport the Channel crossers to France and Germany under the Dublin III regulation. This is EU legislation which allows governments to pass on responsibility for assessing someone’s asylum claim to another state. That is: the UK doesn’t even begin to look at people’s asylum cases.

    From what we have seen, many of these Dublin III assessments were made in a rushed and irregular way. They often used only weak circumstantial evidence. Few people had any chance to access legal advice, or even interpreters to explain the process.

    We discuss Dublin III and these issues below in the Legal Framework section.
    In the UK: Britain’s worst hotels

    From Yarl’s Wood, people we spoke to were given immigration bail and sent to asylum accommodation. In the first instance this currently means a cheap hotel. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Home Office ordered its asylum contractors (Mears, Serco) to shut their usual initial asylum accommodation and move people into hotels. It is not clear why this decision was made, as numerous accounts suggest the hotels are much worse as possible COVID incubators. The results of this policy have already proved fatal – we refer to the death of Adnan Olbeh in a Glasgow hotel in April.

    Perhaps the government is trying to prop up chains such as Britannia Hotels, judged for seven years running “Britain’s worst hotel chain” by consumer magazine Which?. Several people on the flights were kept in Britannia hotels. The company’s main owner, multi-millionaire Alex Langsam, was dubbed the “asylum king” by British media after winning previous asylum contracts with his slum housing sideline.

    Some of the deportees we spoke to stayed in hotel accommodation for several weeks before being moved into normal “asylum dispersal” accommodation – shared houses in the cheapest parts of cities far from London. Others were picked up for deportation directly from the hotels.

    In both cases, the usual procedure is a morning raid: Immigration Enforcement squads grab people from their beds around dawn. As people are in collaborating hotels or assigned houses, they are easy to find and arrest when next on the list for deportation.

    After arrest, people were taken to the main detention centres near Heathrow (Colnbrook and Harmondsworth) or Gatwick (particularly Brook House). Some stopped first at a police station or Short Term Holding Facility for some hours or days.

    All the people we spoke to eventually ended up in Brook House, one of the two Gatwick centres.
    “they came with the shields”

    “One night in Brook House, after someone cut himself, they locked everyone in. One man panicked and started shouting asking the guards please open the door. But he didn’t speak much English, he was shouting in Arabic. He said – ‘if you don’t open the door I will boil water in my kettle and throw it on my face.’ But they didn’t understand him, they thought he was threatening them, saying he would throw it at them. So they came with the shields, took him out of his room and put him into a solitary cell. When they put him in there they kicked him and beat him, they said ‘don’t threaten us again’.” Testimony of a deported person.

    Brook House

    Brook House remains notorious, after exposure by a whistleblower of routine brutality and humiliation by guards then working for G4S. The contract has since been taken over by Mitie’s prison division – branded as “Care and Custody, a Mitie company”. Presumably, many of the same guards simply transferred over.

    In any case, according to what we heard from the deported people, nothing much has changed in Brook House – viciousness and violence from guards remains the norm. The stories included here give just a few examples. See recent detainee testimonies on the Detained Voices blog for much more.
    “they only care that you don’t die in front of them”

    “I was in my room in Brook House on my own for 12 days, I couldn’t eat or drink, just kept thinking, thinking about my situation. I called for the doctors maybe ten times. They did come a couple of times, they took my blood, but they didn’t do anything else. They don’t care about your health or your mental health. They are just scared you will die there. They don’t care what happens to you just so long as you don’t die in front of their eyes. It doesn’t matter if you die somewhere else.” Testimony of a deported person.
    Preparing the flights

    The Home Office issues papers called “Removal Directions” (RDs) to those they intend to deport. These specify the destination and day of the flight. People already in detention should be given at least 72 hours notice, including two working days, which allows them to make final appeals.

    See the Right to Remain toolkit for detailed information on notice periods and appeal procedures.

    All UK deportation flights, both tickets on normal scheduled flights and chartered planes, are booked by a private contractor called Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). The main airline used by the Home Office for charter flights is a charter company called Titan Airways.

    See this 2018 Corporate Watch report for detailed information on charter flight procedures and the companies involved. And this 2020 update on deportations overall.

    On the 12 August flight, legal challenges managed to get 19 people with Removal Directions off the plane. However, the Home Office then substituted 14 different people who were on a “reserve list”. Lawyers suspect that these 14 people did not have sufficient access to legal representation before their flight which is why they were able to be removed.

    Of the 19 people whose lawyers successfully challenged their attempted deportation, 12 would be deported on the next charter flight on 26 August. 6 were flown to Dusseldorf in Germany, and 6 to Clermont-Ferrand in France.

    Another flight was scheduled for the 27 August to Spain. However, lawyers managed to get everyone taken off, and the Home Office cancelled the flight. A Whitehall source was quoted as saying “there was 100% legal attrition rate on the flight due to unprecedented and organised casework barriers sprung on the government by three law firms.” It is suspected that the Home Office will continue their efforts to deport these people on future charter flights.

    Who was deported?

    All the people on the flights were refugees who had claimed asylum in the UK immediately on arrival at Dover. While the tabloids paint deportation flights as carrying “dangerous criminals”, none of these people had any criminal charges.

    They come from countries including Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and Kuwait. (Ten further Yemenis were due to be on the failed flight to Spain. In June, the UK government said it will resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia to use in the bombardment of the country that has cost tens of thousands of lives).

    All have well-founded fears of persecution in their countries of origin, where there have been extensive and well-documented human rights abuses. At least some of the deportees are survivors of torture – and have been documented as such in the Home Office’s own assessments.

    One was a minor under 18 who was age assessed by the Home Office as 25 – despite them being in possession of his passport proving his real age. Unaccompanied minors should not legally be processed under the Dublin III regulation, let alone held in detention and deported.

    Many, if not all, have friends and families in the UK.

    No one had their asylum case assessed – all were removed under the Dublin III procedure (see Legal Framework section below).

    Timeline of the flight on 26 August

    Night of 25 August: Eight people due to be on the flight self-harm or attempt suicide. Others have been on hunger strike for more than a week already. Three are taken to hospital where they are hastily treated before being discharged so they can still be placed on the flight. Another five are simply bandaged up in Brook House’s healthcare facility. (See testimony above.)

    26 August, 4am onwards: Guards come to take deportees from their rooms in Brook House. There are numerous testimonies of violence: three or four guards enter rooms with shields, helmets, and riot gear and beat up prisoners if they show any resistance.

    4am onwards: The injured prisoners are taken by guards to be inspected by a doctor, in a corridor in front of officials, and are certified as “fit to fly”.

    5am onwards: Prisoners are taken one by one to waiting vans. Each is placed in a separate van with four guards. Vans are labelled with the Mitie “Care and Custody” logo. Prisoners are then kept sitting in the vans until everyone is loaded, which takes one to two hours.

    6am onwards: Vans drive from Brook House (near Gatwick Airport) to Stansted Airport. They enter straight into the airport charter flight area. Deportees are taken one by one from the vans and onto Titan’s waiting plane. It is an anonymous looking white Airbus A321-211 without the company’s livery, with the registration G-POWU. They are escorted up the steps with a guard on each side.

    On the plane there are four guards to each person: one seated on each side, one in the seat in front and one behind. Deportees are secured with restraint belts around their waists, so that their arms are handcuffed to the belts on each side. Besides the 12 deportees and 48 guards there are Home Office officials, Mitie managers, and two paramedics on the plane.

    7.48AM (BST): The Titan Airways plane (using flight number ZT311) departs Stansted airport.

    9.44AM (CEST): The flight lands in Dusseldorf. Six people are taken off the plane and are handed over to the German authorities.

    10.46AM (CEST): Titan’s Airbus takes off from Dusseldorf bound for Clermont-Ferrand, France with the remaining deportees.

    11.59AM (CEST): The Titan Airways plane (now with flight number ZT312) touches down at Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport and the remaining six deportees are disembarked from the plane and taken into the custody of the Police Aux Frontières (PAF, French border police).

    12:46PM (CEST): The plane leaves Clermont-Ferrand to return to the UK. It first lands in Gatwick, probably so the escorts and other officials get off, before continuing on to Stansted where the pilots finish their day.

    Dumped on arrival: Germany

    What happened to most of the deportees in Germany is not known, although it appears there was no comprehensive intake procedure by the German police. One deportee told us German police on arrival in Dusseldorf gave him a train ticket and told him to go to the asylum office in Berlin. When he arrived there, he was told to go back to his country. He told them he could not and that he had no money to stay in Berlin or travel to another country. The asylum office told him he could sleep on the streets of Berlin.

    Only one man appears to have been arrested on arrival. This was the person who had attempted suicide the night before, cutting his head and neck with razors, and had been bleeding throughout the flight.
    Dumped on arrival: France

    The deportees were taken to Clermont-Ferrand, a city in the middle of France, hundreds of kilometres away from metropolitan centres. Upon arrival they were subjected to a COVID nose swab test and then held by the PAF while French authorities decided their fate.

    Two were released around an hour and a half later with appointments to claim asylum in around one week’s time – in regional Prefectures far from Clermont-Ferrand. They were not offered any accommodation, further legal information, or means to travel to their appointments.

    The next person was released about another hour and a half after them. He was not given an appointment to claim asylum, but just provided with a hotel room for four nights.

    Throughout the rest of the day the three other detainees were taken from the airport to the police station to be fingerprinted. Beginning at 6PM these three began to be freed. The last one was released seven hours after the deportation flight landed. The police had been waiting for the Prefecture to decide whether or not to transfer them to the detention centre (Centre de Rétention Administrative – CRA). We don’t know if a factor in this was that the nearest detention centre, at Lyon, was full up.

    However, these people were not simply set free. They were given expulsion papers ordering them to leave France (OQTF: Obligation de quitter le territoire français), and banning them from returning (IRTF: Interdiction de retour sur le territoire français). These papers allowed them only 48 hours to appeal. The British government has said that people deported on flights to France have the opportunity to claim asylum in France. This is clearly not true.

    In a further bureaucratic contradiction, alongside expulsion papers people were also given orders that they must report to the Clermont-Ferrand police station every day at 10:00AM for the next 45 days (potentially to be arrested and detained at any point). They were told that if they failed to report, the police would consider them on the run.

    The Prefecture also reserved a place in a hotel many kilometres away from the airport for them for four nights, but not any further information or ways to receive food. They were also not provided any way to get to this hotel, and the police would not help them – stating that their duty finished once they gave the deportees their papers.

    “After giving me the expulsion papers the French policeman said ‘Now you can go to England.’” (Testimony of deported person)

    The PAF showed a general disregard for the health and well-being of the deportees who were in the custody throughout the day. One of the deportees had been in a wheel-chair throughout the day and was unable to walk due to the deep lacerations on his feet from self-harming. He was never taken to the hospital, despite the doctor’s recommendation, neither during the custody period nor after his release. In fact, the only reason for the doctor’s visit in the first place was to assess whether he was fit to be detained should the Prefecture decide that. The police kept him in his bloody clothes all day, and when they released him he did not have shoes and could barely walk. No crutches were given, nor did the police offer to help him get to the hotel. He was put out on the street having to carry all of his possessions in a Home Office issue plastic bag.
    “the hardest night of my life”

    “It was the hardest night of my life. My heart break was so great that I seriously thought of suicide. I put the razor in my mouth to swallow it; I saw my whole life pass quickly until the first hours of dawn. The treatment in detention was very bad, humiliating and degrading. I despised myself and felt that my life was destroyed, but it was too precious to lose it easily. I took the razor out from my mouth before I was taken out of the room, where four large-bodied people, wearing armour similar to riot police and carrying protective shields, violently took me to the large hall at the ground floor of the detention centre. I was exhausted, as I had been on hunger strike for several days. In a room next to me, one of the deportees tried to resist and was beaten so severely that blood dripping from his nose. In the big hall, they searched me carefully and took me to a car like a dangerous criminal, two people on my right and left, they drove for about two hours to the airport, there was a big passenger plane on the runway. […] That moment, I saw my dreams, my hopes, shattered in front of me when I entered the plane.”

    Testimony of deported person (from Detained Voices: https://detainedvoices.com/2020/08/27/brook-house-protestor-on-his-deportation-it-was-the-hardest-night-of).

    The Legal Framework: Dublin III

    These deportations are taking place under the Dublin III regulation. This is EU law that determines which European country is responsible for assessing a refugee’s asylum claim. The decision involves a number of criteria, the primary ones being ‘family unity’ and the best interests of children. Another criterion, in the case of people crossing borders without papers, is which country they first entered ‘irregularly’. In the law, this is supposed to be less important than family ties – but it is the most commonly used ground by governments seeking to pass on asylum applicants to other states. All the people we know of on these flights were “Dublined” because the UK claimed they had previously been in France, Germany or Spain.

    (See: House of Commons intro briefing; Right to Remain toolkit section:
    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/what-is-the-dublin-iii-regulation-will-it-be-affected-by-b
    https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/dublin)

    By invoking the Dublin regulation, the UK evades actually assessing people’s asylum cases. These people were not deported because their asylum claims failed – their cases were simply never considered. The decision to apply Dublin III is made after the initial screening interview (now taking place in Yarl’s Wood). As we saw above, very few people are able to access any legal advice before these interviews are conducted and sometimes they are carried out by telephone or without adequate translation.

    Under Dublin III the UK must make a formal request to the other government it believes is responsible for considering the asylum claim to take the person back, and present evidence as to why that government should accept responsibility. Typically, the evidence provided is the record of the person’s fingerprints registered by another country on the Europe-wide EURODAC database.

    However, in the recent deportation cases the Home Office has not always provided fingerprints but instead relied on weak circumstantial evidence. Some countries have refused this evidence, but others have accepted – notably France.

    There seems to be a pattern in the cases so far where France is accepting Dublin III returns even when other countries have refused. The suspicion is that the French government may have been incentivised to accept ‘take-back’ requests based on very flimsy evidence as part of the recent Franco-British Channel crossing negotiations (France reportedly requested £30m to help Britain make the route ‘unviable’).

    In theory, accepting a Dublin III request means that France (or another country) has taken responsibility to process someone’s asylum claim. In practice, most of the people who arrived at Clermont-Ferrand on 26 August were not given any opportunity to claim asylum – instead they were issued with expulsion papers ordering them to leave France and Europe. They were also only given 48 hours to appeal these expulsions orders without any further legal information; a near impossibility for someone who has just endured a forceful expulsion and may require urgent medical treatment.

    Due to Brexit, the United Kingdom will no longer participate in Dublin III from 31 December 2020. While there are non-EU signatories to the agreement like Switzerland and Norway, it is unclear what arrangements the UK will have after that (as with basically everything else about Brexit). If there is no overall deal, the UK will have to negotiate numerous bilateral agreements with European countries. This pattern of expedited expulsion without a proper screening process established with France could be a taste of things to come.

    Conclusion: rushed – and illegal?

    Charter flight deportations are one of the most obviously brutal tools used by the UK Border Regime. They involve the use of soul-crushing violence by the Home Office and its contractors (Mitie, Titan Airways, Britannia Hotels, and all) against people who have already lived through histories of trauma.

    For these recent deportations of Channel crossers the process seems particularly rushed. People who have risked their lives in the Channel are scooped into a machine designed to deny their asylum rights and expel them ASAP – for the sake of a quick reaction to the latest media panic. New procedures appear to have been introduced off the cuff by Home Office officials and in under-the-table deals with French counterparts.

    As a result of this rush-job, there seem to be numerous irregularities in the process. Some have been already flagged up in the successful legal challenges to the Spanish flight on 27 August. The detention and deportation of boat-crossers may well be largely illegal, and is open to being challenged further on both sides of the Channel.

    Here we recap a few particular issues:

    The highly politicised nature of the expulsion process for small boat crossers means they are being denied access to a fair asylum procedure by the Home Office.

    The deportees include people who are victims of torture and of trafficking, as well as under-aged minors.

    People are being detained, rushed through screening interviews, and “Dublined” without access to legal advice and necessary information.

    In order to avoid considering asylum requests, Britain is applying Dublin III often just using flimsy circumstantial evidence – and France is accepting these requests, perhaps as a result of recent negotiations and financial arrangements.

    Many deportees have family ties in the UK – but the primary Dublin III criterion of ‘family unity’ is ignored.

    In accepting Dublin III requests France is taking legal responsibility for people’s asylum claims. But in fact it has denied people the chance to claim asylum, instead immediately issuing expulsion papers.

    These expulsion papers (‘Order to quit France’ and ‘Ban from returning to France’ or ‘OQTF’ and ‘IRTF’) are issued with only 48 hour appeal windows. This is completely inadequate to ensure a fair procedure – even more so for traumatised people who have just endured detention and deportation, then been dumped in the middle of nowhere in a country where they have no contacts and do not speak the language.

    This completely invalidates the Home Office’s argument that the people it deports will be able to access a fair asylum procedure in France.

    https://corporatewatch.org/cast-away-the-uks-rushed-charter-flights-to-deport-channel-crossers

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UK #Angleterre #Dublin #expulsions #renvois #Royaume_Uni #vols #charter #France #Allemagne #Espagne #Home_Office #accord #témoignage #violence #Brexit #Priti_Patel #Royal_Navy #plan_opérationnel_conjoint #Manche #Commandant_de_la_menace_clandestine_dans_la_Manche #Cherbourg #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #Calais #Dunkerque #navires #Border_Force_Cutters #avions_de_surveillance #Royal_Air_Force #Opération_Sillath #refoulements #push-backs #Douvres #Kent_Intake_Unit #Yarl’s_Wood #Bedfordshire #Serco #Short_Term_Holding_Facility (#SHTF) #hôtel #Mears #hôtels_Britannia #Alex_Langsam #Immigration_Enforcement_squads #Heathrow #Colnbrook #Harmondsworth #Gatwick #aéroport #Brook_Hous #G4S #Removal_Directions #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT) #privatisation #compagnies_aériennes #Titan_Airways #Clermont-Ferrand #Düsseldorf

    @karine4 —> il y a une section dédiée à l’arrivée des vols charter en France (à Clermont-Ferrand plus précisément) :
    Larguées à destination : la France

    ping @isskein

    • Traduction française :

      S’en débarrasser : le Royaume Uni se précipite pour expulser par vols charters les personnes qui traversent la Manche

      Attention : ce document contient des récits de violence, tentatives de suicide et automutilation.

      Le Royaume Uni s’attache à particulièrement réprimer les migrants traversant la Manche dans de petites embarcations, répondant comme toujours à la panique propagée par les tabloïds britanniques. Une partie de sa stratégie consiste en une nouvelle vague d’expulsions massives : des vols charters, ciblant spécifiquement les personnes traversant la Manche, vers la France, l’Allemagne et l’Espagne.

      Deux vols ont eu lieu jusqu’à présent, les 12 et 26 août. Le prochain est prévu pour le 3 septembre. Les deux vols récents ont fait escale à la fois en Allemagne (Düsseldorf) et en France (Toulouse le 12, Clermont-Ferrand le 26). Un autre vol était prévu pour l’Espagne le 27 août – mais il a été annulé après que les avocat-es aient réussi à faire descendre tout le monde de l’avion.

      Menées à la hâte par un Home Office en panique, ces déportations massives ont été particulièrement brutales, et ont pu impliquer de graves irrégularités juridiques. Ce rapport résume ce que nous savons jusqu’à présent après avoir parlé à un certain nombre de personnes expulsées et à d’autres sources. Il couvre :

      Le contexte : Les traversées en bateau de Calais et l’accord entre le Royaume-Uni et la France pour les faire cesser.
      Au Royaume-Uni : Yarl’s Wood reconverti en centre de traitement de personnes traversant la Manche ; Britannia Hotels ; le centre de détention de Brook House, toujours aussi brutal.
      Les vols : Calendrier détaillé du charter du 26 août vers Düsseldorf et Clermont-Ferrand.
      Qui est à bord du vol : Les personnes réfugiées, y compris des mineurs et des personnes torturées.
      Délaissé à l’arrivée : Les personnes arrivant en Allemagne et en France qui n’ont pas la possibilité de demander l’asile se voient délivrer immédiatement des documents d’expulsion.
      Les questions juridiques : Utilisation du règlement Dublin III pour se soustraire de la responsabilité à l’égard des réfugiés.
      Est-ce illégal ? : la précipitation du processus entraîne de nombreuses irrégularités.

      “cette nuit-là, huit personnes se sont automutilées”

      Cette nuit-là avant le vol (25 août), lorsque nous étions enfermés dans nos chambres et que j’ai appris que j’avais perdu en appel, j’étais désespéré. J’ai commencé à me mutiler. Je n’étais pas le seule. Huit personnes se sont automutilées ou ont tenté de se suicider plutôt que d’être emmenées dans cet avion. Un homme s’est jeté une bouilloire d’eau bouillante sur lui-même. Un homme a essayé de se pendre avec le câble de télé dans sa chambre. Trois d’entre nous ont été emmenés à l’hôpital, mais renvoyés au centre de détention après quelques heures. Les cinq autres ont été emmenés à l’infirmerie de Brook House où on leur a mis des pansements. Vers 5 heures du matin, ils sont venus dans ma chambre, des gardes avec des boucliers anti-émeutes. Sur le chemin pour aller au van, ils m’ont fait traverser une sorte de couloir rempli de gens – gardes, directeurs, fonctionnaires du Home Office. Ils ont tous regardé pendant qu’un médecin m’examinait, puis le médecin a dit : “oui, il est apte à voler”. Dans l’avion, plus tard, j’ai vu un homme très gravement blessé, du sang dégoulinant de sa tête et sur ses vêtements. Il n’avait pas seulement essayé d’arrêter le vol, il voulait vraiment se tuer. Il a été emmené en Allemagne.

      Témoignage d’une personne déportée.

      Le contexte : les bateaux et les accords

      Depuis les années 1990, des dizaines de milliers de personnes fuyant la guerre, la répression et la pauvreté ont franchi le “court détroit” entre Calais et Dover. Jusqu’en 2018, les personnes sans papiers qui tentaient de traverser la Manche le faisaient principalement en montant dans des camions ou des trains passant par le tunnel sous la Manche. Les systèmes de sécurité autour des parkings de camions, du tunnel et de l’autoroute ont été massivement renforcés après l’expulsion de la grande jungle en 2016. Cela a obligé les gens à chercher d’autres itinéraires, toujours plus dangereux, y compris en traversant l’une des voies navigables les plus fréquentées du monde à bord de petits bateaux. Environ 300 personnes ont emprunté cet itinéraire en 2018, 2000 autres en 2019 – et, selon les rapports, plus de 5000 personnes entre janvier et août 2020.

      Ces passages ont été relayés par les médias britanniques lors de leur dernière vague de publications xénophobiques et alarmistes. Le schéma n’est que trop familier depuis le camp Sangatte en 1999 : les médias de droite (le plus célèbre étant le Daily Mail, mais aussi d’autres) diffusent des articles abusifs sur les dangereux “illégaux” qui déferleraient à travers la Manche ; et le gouvernement britannique répond par des promesses de répression.

      Renforcé par le Brexit, les mesures et annonces récentes comprennent :

      Le ministre de l’intérieur, Priti Patel, annonce une nouvelle loi sur l’asile et l’immigration “plus juste” qui, promet-elle, “fera s’effondrer la gauche”.
      Une demande officielle du Home Office à la Royal Navy pour aider à refouler les migrants qui traversent par bateau (bien que cela soit illégal).
      Négociations avec le gouvernement français, qui ont abouti à l’annonce le 13 août d’un “plan opérationnel conjoint” visant “ à couper complètement cette route”.
      La nomination d’un “Commandant de la menace clandestine dans la Manche” pour superviser les opérations des deux côtés de la Manche.

      Les mesures concrètes se font encore attendre, mais les évolutions notables jusqu’à présent sont les suivantes :

      D’autres paiements du Royaume-Uni à la France pour accroître la sécurité – la France aurait demandé 30 millions de livres sterling.
      Des navires de guerre français de la base navale de Cherbourg patrouillant au large des côtes de Calais et de Dunkerque.
      Des Border Force Cutters (navires) et les patrouilleurs côtiers britanniques patrouillant du côté anglais soutenus par des avions de surveillance de la Royal Air Force.
      Le nouveau programme d’expulsion par vol charter – qui aurait été baptisé “Opération Sillath” par le ministère de l’intérieur.

      Pour l’instant, du moins, les gouvernements respectent leurs obligations légales minimales en matière de protection de la vie en mer. Et il n’y a pas eu de preuves de “push backs” (refoulement) ou de “pull backs” illégaux : où, de force, soit des bateaux britanniques “poussent”, soit des bateaux français “tirent” des bateaux vers l’un ou l’autre côté de la frontière. Lorsque ces bateaux sont interceptés dans les eaux françaises, les voyageurs sont ramenés en France. S’ils parviennent à entrer dans les eaux britanniques, la police aux frontières britannique les récupère et les débarque à Douvres. Ils peuvent alors demander l’asile au Royaume-Uni.

      Il n’y a pas de différence juridique entre demander l’asile après être arrivé par bateau, par avion ou de toute autre manière. Cependant, ces personnes traversant par petits bateaux ont été ciblées par le gouvernement pour être traitées d’une manière spéciale, semble-t-il conçue pour leur refuser le droit d’asile au Royaume-Uni.

      Une fois que les personnes sont à terre et en sécurité, le deuxième volet de la stratégie de Priti Patel visant à rendre cette voie non viable entre en jeu : systématiquement faire obstacle à leur demande d’asile et, si possible, les expulser vers la France ou d’autres pays européens. En pratique, il est impossible pour le Home Office d’expulser toutes les personnes qui réussissent à traverser. Il s’agit plutôt, comme dans la grande majorité des politiques d’immigration, de faire preuve de fermeté avec un spectacle de mise en vigueur – non seulement pour tenter de dissuader d’autres arrivant-es, mais peut-être surtout pour se mettre en scène devant les principaux médias.

      C’est là qu’intervient la nouvelle vague de vols charter. Les expulsions nécessitent la coopération du pays de destination, et le premier vol a eu lieu le 12 août en plein milieu des négociations franco-britanniques. Plus récemment, ces vols ont alimenté un nouveau spectacle médiatique au Royaume-Uni : le Home Office s’en prend aux “avocats militants” qui font leur travail en contestant les principales failles juridiques de ces renvois précipités.

      Le Home Office a tenté de présenter ces vols d’expulsion comme une réponse immédiate et forte aux traversées de la Manche. Le message est le suivant : si vous traversez la Manche, vous serez de retour dans les jours qui suivent. Là encore, il s’agit plus de spectacle que de réalité. Toutes les personnes que nous connaissons sur ces vols étaient au Royaume-Uni plusieurs mois avant d’être expulsées.

      Au Royaume-Uni : Yarl’s Wood réaffecté

      Une fois à terre en Angleterre, les personnes sont emmenées à l’un des deux endroits suivants : soit la Kent Intake Unit (Unité d’admission du Kent), qui est un centre de détention du ministère de l’intérieur (c’est-à-dire un petit complexe de cellules préfabriquées) dans les docks à l’est du port de Douvres ; soit le poste de police de Douvres. Ce poste de police semble être de plus en plus l’endroit principal, car la petite “unité d’admission” est souvent pleine. Il y avait autrefois un centre de détention à Douvres où étaient détenus les nouveaux arrivants, qui était connu pour son état de délabrement, mais a été fermé en octobre 2015.

      Les personnes sont généralement détenues au poste de police pendant une journée maximum. La destination suivante est généralement Yarl’s Wood, le centre de détention du Bedfordshire géré par Serco. Il s’agissait, jusqu’à récemment, d’un centre de détention à long terme qui accueillait principalement des femmes. Cependant, le 18 août, le ministère de l’intérieur a annoncé que Yarl’s Wood avait été réaménagé en “centre de détention de courte durée” (Short Term Holding Facility – SHTF) pour traiter spécifiquement les personnes qui ont traversé la Manche. Les personnes ne restent généralement que quelques jours – le séjour maximum légal pour un centre de “courte durée” est de sept jours.

      Yarl’s Wood a une capacité normale de 410 prisonniers. Selon des sources à Yarl’s Wood :

      “La semaine dernière, c’était presque plein avec plus de 350 personnes détenues. Quelques jours plus tard, ce nombre était tombé à 150, ce qui montre la rapidité avec laquelle les gens passent par le centre. Mardi 25 août, il n’y avait plus personne dans le centre ! Il semble probable que les chiffres fluctueront en fonction des traversées de la Manche.”

      La même source ajoute :

      “Il y a des inquiétudes concernant l’accès à l’aide juridique à Yarl’s Wood. La réglementation relative aux centres de détention provisoire n’exige pas que des conseils juridiques soient disponibles sur place (à Manchester, par exemple, il n’y a pas d’avocats de garde). Apparemment, le roulement des avocats de garde se poursuit à Yarl’s Wood pour l’instant. Mais la rapidité avec laquelle les personnes sont traitées maintenant signifie qu’il est pratiquement impossible de s’inscrire et d’obtenir un rendez-vous avec l’avocat de garde avant d’être transféré”.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur mène les premiers entretiens d’évaluation des demandeurs d’asile pendant qu’ils sont à Yarl’s Wood. Ces entretiens se font parfois en personne, ou parfois par téléphone.

      C’est un moment crucial, car ce premier entretien détermine les chances de nombreuses personnes de demander l’asile au Royaume-Uni. Le ministère de l’intérieur utilise les informations issues de cet entretien pour expulser les personnes qui traversent la Manche vers la France et l’Allemagne en vertu du règlement Dublin III. Il s’agit d’une législation de l’Union Européenne (UE) qui permet aux gouvernements de transférer la responsabilité de l’évaluation de la demande d’asile d’une personne vers un autre État. Autrement dit, le Royaume-Uni ne commence même pas à examiner les demandes d’asile des personnes.

      D’après ce que nous avons vu, beaucoup de ces évaluations de Dublin III ont été faites de manière précipitée et irrégulière. Elles se sont souvent appuyées sur de faibles preuves circonstancielles. Peu de personnes ont eu la possibilité d’obtenir des conseils juridiques, ou même des interprètes pour expliquer le processus.

      Nous abordons Dublin III et les questions soulevées ci-dessous dans la section “Cadre juridique”.
      Au Royaume-Uni : les pires hôtels britanniques

      De Yarl’s Wood, les personnes à qui nous avons parlé ont été libérées sous caution (elles devaient respecter des conditions spécifiques aux personnes immigrées) dans des hébergement pour demandeurs d’asile. Dans un premier temps, cet hébergement signifie un hôtel à bas prix. En raison de l’épidémie du COVID-19, le Home Office a ordonné aux entreprises sous-traitantes (Mears, Serco) qui administrent habituellement les centres d’accueil pour demandeurs d’asile de fermer leurs places d’hébergement et d’envoyer les personnes à l’hôtel. Cette décision est loin d’être claire, du fait que de nombreux indicateurs suggèrent que les hôtels sont bien pires en ce qui concerne la propagation du COVID. Le résultat de cette politique s’est déjà avéré fatal – voir la mort d’Adnan Olbeh à l’hôtel Glasgow en avril.

      Peut-être le gouvernement essaie de soutenir des chaînes telles que Britannia Hotels, classée depuis sept ans à la suite comme la “pire chaîne d’hôtel britannique” par le magazine des consommateurs Which ?. Plusieurs personnes envoyées par charter avaient été placées dans des hôtels Britannia. Le principal propriétaire de cette chaîne, le multi-millionnaire Alex Langsam, a été surnommé « le roi de l’asile » par les médias britanniques après avoir remporté précédemment à l’aide de ses taudis d’autres contrats pour l’hébergement des demandeurs d’asile.

      Certaines des personnes déportées à qui nous avons parlé sont restées dans ce genre d’hôtels plusieurs semaines avant d’être envoyées dans des lieux de “dispersion des demandeurs d’asile” – des logements partagés situés dans les quartiers les plus pauvres de villes très éloignées de Londres. D’autres ont été mises dans l’avion directement depuis les hôtels.

      Dans les deux cas, la procédure habituelle est le raid matinal : Des équipes de mise-en-œuvre de l’immigration (Immigration Enforcement squads) arrachent les gens de leur lit à l’aube. Comme les personnes sont dans des hôtels qui collaborent ou assignées à des maisons, il est facile de les trouver et de les arrêter quand elles sont les prochains sur la liste des déportations.

      Après l’arrestation, les personnes ont été amenées aux principaux centres de détention près de Heathrow (Colnbrook et Harmondsworth) ou Gatwick (particulièrement Brook House). Quelques-unes ont d’abord été gardées au commissariat ou en détention pour des séjours de court terme pendant quelques heures ou quelques jours.

      Tous ceux à qui nous avons parlé ont finalement terminé à Brook House, un des deux centres de détention de Gatwick.
      « ils sont venus avec les boucliers »

      Une nuit, à Brook House, après que quelqu’un se soit mutilé, ils ont enfermé tout le monde. Un homme a paniqué et a commencé à crier en demandant aux gardes « S’il vous plaît, ouvrez la porte ». Mais il ne parlait pas bien anglais et criait en arabe. Il a dit : « Si vous n’ouvrez pas la porte je vais faire bouillir de l’eau dans ma bouilloire et me la verser sur le visage ». Mais ils ne l’ont pas compris, ils pensaient qu’il était en train de les menacer et qu’il était en train de dire qu’il allait jeter l’eau bouillante sur eux. Alors ils sont arrivés avec leurs boucliers, ils l’ont jeté hors de sa cellule et ils l’ont mis en isolement. Quand ils l’ont mis là-bas, ils lui ont donné des coups et ils l’ont battu, ils ont dit : « Ne nous menace plus jamais ». (Témoignage d’une personne déportée)

      Brook House

      Brook House reste tristement célèbre après les révélations d’un lanceur d’alerte sur les brutalités quotidiennes et les humiliations commises par les gardes qui travaillent pour G4S. Leur contrat a depuis été repris par la branche emprisonnement de Mitie – dont la devise est « Care and Custody, a Mitie company » (traduction : « Soins et détention, une entreprise Mitie »). Probablement que beaucoup des mêmes gardes sont simplement passés d’une entreprise à l’autre.

      Dans tous les cas, d’après ce que les personnes déportées nous ont dit, pas grand chose n’a changé à Brook House – le vice et la violence des gardes restent la norme. Les histoires rapportées ici en donnent juste quelques exemples. Vous pouvez lire davantage dans les récents témoignages de personnes détenues sur le blog Detained Voices.
      « ils s’assurent juste que tu ne meures pas devant eux »

      J’étais dans ma cellule à Brook House seul depuis 12 jours, je ne pouvais ni manger ni boire, juste penser, penser à ma situation. J’ai demandé un docteur peut-être dix fois. Ils sont venus plusieurs fois, ils ont pris mon sang, mais ils n’ont rien fait d’autre. Ils s’en foutent de ta santé ou de ta santé mentale. Ils ont juste peur que tu meures là. Ils s’en foutent de ce qui t’arrive du moment que tu ne meures pas devant leurs yeux. Et ça n’a pas d’importance pour eux si tu meurs ailleurs.
      Témoignage d’une personne déportée.

      Préparation des vols

      Le Home Office délivre des papiers appelés « Instructions d’expulsion » (« Removal Directions » – Rds) aux personnes qu’ils ont l’intention de déporter. Y sont stipulés la destination et le jour du vol. Les personnes qui sont déjà en détention doivent recevoir ce papier au moins 72 heures à l’avance, incluant deux jours ouvrés, afin de leur permettre de faire un ultime appel de la décision.

      Voir Right to Remain toolkit pour des informations détaillés sur les délais légaux et sur les procédures d’appel.

      Tous les vols de déportation du Royaume Uni, les tickets qu’ils soient pour un avion de ligne régulier ou un vol charter sont réservés via une agence de voyage privée appelée Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). La principale compagnie aérienne utilisée par le Home Office pour les vols charter est la compagnie de charter qui s’appelle Titan Airways.

      Voir 2018 Corporate Watch report pour les informations détaillées sur les procédures de vols charter et les compagnies impliquées. Et la mise-à-jour de 2020 sur les déportations en général.

      Concernant le vol du 12 août, des recours légaux ont réussi à faire sortir 19 personnes de l’avion qui avaient des Instructions d’expulsion ( Rds ). Cependant, le Home Office les a remplacées par 14 autres personnes qui étaient sur la « liste d’attente ». Les avocats suspectent que ces 14 personnes n’ont pas eu suffisamment accès à leur droit à être représentés par un-e avocat-e avant le vol, ce qui a permis qu’elles soient expulsés.

      Parmi les 19 personnes dont les avocat.es ont réussi à empêcher l’expulsion prévue, 12 ont finalement été déportées par le vol charter du 26 août : 6 personnes envoyées à Dusseldorf en Allemagne et 6 autres à Clermont-Ferrand en France.

      Un autre vol a été programmé le 27 août pour l’Espagne. Cependant les avocat-es ont réussi à faire retirer tout le monde, et le Home Office a annulé le vol. L’administration anglaise (Whitehall) a dit dans les médias : “le taux d’attrition juridique a été de 100 % pour ce vol en raison des obstacles sans précédent et organisés que trois cabinets d’avocats ont imposés au gouvernement.” Il y a donc de fortes chances que Home Office mettra tous ses moyens à disposition pour continuer à expulser ces personnes lors de prochains vols charters.

      Qui a été expulsé ?

      L’ensemble des personnes expulsées par avion sont des personnes réfugiées qui ont déposé leur demande d’asile au Royaume-Uni immédiatement après leur arrivée à Dover. La une des médias expose les personnes expulsées comme « de dangereux criminels », mais aucune d’entre elles n’a fait l’objet de poursuites.

      Ils viennent de différents pays dont l’Irak, le Yemen, le Soudan, la Syrie, l’Afghanistan et le Koweit. (Dix autres Yéménis devaient être expulsés par le vol annulé pour l’Espagne. Au mois de juin, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni a annoncé la reprise des accords commerciaux de vente d’armes avec l’Arabie Saoudite qui les utilise dans des bombardements au Yemen qui ont déjà coûté la vie à des dizaines de milliers de personnes).

      Toutes ces personnes craignent à raison des persécution dans leurs pays d’origine – où les abus des Droits de l’Homme sont nombreux et ont été largement documentés. Au moins plusieurs des personnes expulsées ont survécu à la torture, ce qui a été documenté par le Home Office lui-même lors d’entretiens.

      Parmi eux, un mineur âgé de moins de 18 ans a été enregistré par le Home Office comme ayant 25 ans – alors même qu’ils étaient en possession de son passeport prouvant son âge réel. Les mineurs isolés ne devraient légalement pas être traités avec la procédure Dublin III, et encore moins être placés en détention et être expulsés.

      Beaucoup de ces personnes, si ce ne sont toutes, ont des ami-es et de la famille au Royaume-Uni.

      Aucune de leurs demandes d’asile n’a été évaluée – toutes ont été refusées dans le cadre de la procédure Dublin III (cf. Cadre Légal plus bas).

      Chronologie du vol du 26 août

      Nuit du 25 août : Huit des personnes en attente de leur expulsion se mutilent ou tentent de se suicider. D’autres personnes font une grève de la faim depuis plus d’une semaine. Trois d’entre elles sont amenées à l’hôpital, hâtivement prises en charge pour qu’elles puissent être placées dans l’avion. Cinq autres se sont simplement vus délivrer quelques compresses au service des soins du centre de détention de Brook House. (cf. le témoignage ci-dessus)

      26 août, vers 4 heure du matin : Les gardiens récupèrent les personnes expulsables dans leurs cellules. Il y a de nombreux témoignages de violence : trois ou quatre gardiens en tenue anti-émeute avec casques et boucliers s’introduisent dans les cellules et tabassent les détenus à la moindre résistance.

      vers 4 heure du matin : Les détenus blessés sont amenés par les gardiens pour être examinés par un médecin dans un couloir, face aux fonctionnaires, et sont jugés « apte à prendre l’avion ».

      vers 5 heure du matin : Les détenus sont amenés un par un dans les fourgons. Chacun est placé dans un fourgon séparé, entouré de quatre gardiens. Les fourgons portent le logo de l’entreprise Mitie « Care and Custody ». Les détenus sont gardés dans les fourgons le temps de faire monter tout le monde, ce qui prend une à deux heures.

      vers 6 heure du matin : Les fourgons vont du centre de détention de Brook House (près de l’Aéroport Gatwick) à l’Aéroport Stansted et entrent directement dans la zone réservée aux vols charters. Les détenus sont sortis un par un des fourgons vers l’avion de la compagnie aérienne Titan. Il s’agit d’un avion Airbus A321-211, avec le numéro d’enregistrement G-POWU, au caractère anonyme, qui ne porte aucun signe distinctif de la compagnie aérienne. Les détenus sont escortés en haut des escaliers avec un gardien de chaque côté.

      Dans l’avion quatre gardiens sont assignés à chaque personne : deux de part et d’autre sur les sièges mitoyens, un sur le siège devant et un sur le siège derrière. Les détenus sont maintenus avec une ceinture de restriction au niveau de leur taille à laquelle sont également attachées leurs mains par des menottes. En plus des 12 détenus et 48 gardiens, il y a des fonctionnaires du Home Office, des managers de Mitie, et deux personnels paramédicaux dans l’avion.

      7h58 (BST) : L’avion de la compagnie Titan (dont le numéro de vol est ZT311) décolle de l’Aéroport Stansted.

      9h44 (CEST) : Le vol atterrit à Dusseldorf. Six personnes sont sorties de l’avion, laissées aux mains des autorités allemandes.

      10h46 (CEST) : L’avion Titan décolle de Dusseldorf pour rejoindre Clermont-Ferrand avec le reste des détenus.

      11h59 (CEST) : L’avion (dont le numéro de vol est maintenant ZT312) atterrit à l’Aéroport de Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne et les six autres détenus sont débarqués et amenés aux douanes de la Police Aux Frontières (PAF).

      12h46 (CEST) : L’avion quitte Clermont-Ferrand pour retourner au Royaume-Uni. Il atterrit d’abord à l’Aéroport Gatwick, probablement pour déposer les gardiens et les fonctionnaires, avant de finir sa route à l’Aéroport Stansted où les pilotes achèvent leur journée.

      Larguées à destination : l’Allemagne

      Ce qu’il est arrivé aux personnes expulsées en Allemagne n’est pas connu, même s’il semblerait qu’il n’y ait pas eu de procédure claire engagée par la police allemande. Un des expulsés nous a rapporté qu’à son arrivée à Dusseldorf, la police allemande lui a donné un billet de train en lui disant de se rendre au bureau de la demande d’asile à Berlin. Une fois là-bas, on lui a dit de retourner dans son pays. Ce à quoi il a répondu qu’il ne pouvait pas y retourner et qu’il n’avait pas non plus d’argent pour rester à Berlin ou voyager dans un autre pays. Le bureau de la demande d’asile a répondu qu’il pouvait dormir dans les rues de Berlin.

      Un seul homme a été arrêté à son arrivée. Il s’agit d’une personne qui avait tenté de se suicider la veille en se mutilant à la tête et au coup au rasoir, et qui avait saigné tout au long du vol.
      Larguées à destination : la France

      Les expulsés ont été transportés à Clermont-Ferrand, une ville située au milieu de la France, à des centaines de kilomètres des centres métropolitains. Dès leur arrivée ils ont été testés pour le COVID par voie nasale et retenus par la PAF pendant que les autorités françaises décidaient de leur sort.

      Deux d’entre eux ont été libérés à peu près une heure et demi après, une fois donnés des rendez-vous au cours de la semaine suivante pour faire des demandes d’asile dans des Préfectures de région eloignées de Clermont-Ferrand. Il ne leur a été proposé aucun logement, ni information légale, ni moyen pour se déplacer jusqu’à leurs rendez-vous.

      La personne suivante a été libérée environ une heure et demi après eux. Il ne lui a pas été donné de rendez-vous pour demander l’asile, mais il lui a juste été proposé une chambre d’hotel pour quatre nuits.

      Pendant le reste de la journée, les trois autres détenus ont été emmenés de l’aéroport au commisariat pour prendre leurs empreintes. On a commencé à les libérer à partir de 18h. Le dernier a été libéré sept heures après que le vol de déportation soit arrivé. La police a attendu que la Préfecture décide de les transférer ou non au Centre de Rétention Administrative (CRA). On ne sait pas si la raison à cela était que le centre le plus proche, à Lyon, était plein.

      Cependant, ces personnes n’ont pas été simplement laissées libres. Il leur a été donné des ordres d’expulsion (OQTF : Obligation de quitter le territoire francais) et des interdictions de retour sur le territoire francais (IRTF). Ces document ne leur donnent que48h pour faire appel. Le gouverment britannique a dit que les personnes déportées par avion en France avaient la possibilité de demander l’asile en France. C’est clairement faux.

      Pour aller plus loin dans les contradictions bureaucratique, avec les ordres d’expulsion leurs ont été donnés l’ordre de devoir se présenter à la station de police de Clermont-Ferrand tous les jours à dix heures du matin dans les 45 prochains jours (pour potentiellement y être arrêtés et detenus à ces occasions). Ils leur a été dit que si ils ne s’y présentaient pas la police
      les considèrerait comme en fuite.

      La police a aussi réservé une place dans un hotel à plusieurs kilomètre de l’aéroport pour quatres nuits, mais sans aucune autre information ni aide pour se procurer de quoi s’alimenter. Il ne leur a été fourni aucun moyen de se rendre à cet hôtel et la police a refusé de les aider – disant que leur mission s’arretait à la délivrance de leurs documents d’expulsion.

      Après m’avoir donné les papiers d’expulsion, le policier francais a dit
      ‘Maintenant tu peux aller en Angleterre’.
      Temoignage de la personne expulsée

      La police aux frontières (PAF) a ignoré la question de la santé et du
      bien-être des personnes expulsées qui étaient gardées toute la journée.
      Une des personnes était en chaise roulante toute la journée et était
      incapable de marcher du fait des blessures profondes à son pied, qu’il
      s’était lui même infligées. Il n’a jamais été emmené à l’hôpital malgré les
      recommendations du médecin, ni durant la période de détention, ni après
      sa libération. En fait, la seule raison à la visite du médecin était initialement d’évaluer s’il était en mesure d’être detenu au cas où la Préfecture le déciderait. La police l’a laissé dans ses vêtements souillés de sang toute la journée et quand ils l’ont libéré il n’avait pas eu de chaussures et pouvait à peine marcher. Ni béquilles, ni aide pour rejoindre l’hotel ne lui ont été donnés par la police. Il a été laissé dans la rue, devant porter toutes ses
      affaires dans un sac en plastique du Home Office.
      “La nuit la plus dure de ma vie”

      Ce fut la nuit la plus dure de ma vie. Mon coeur était brisé si fort que j’ai sérieusement pensé au suicide. J’ai mis le rasoir dans ma bouche pour l’avaler ; j’ai vu ma vie entière passer rapidement jusqu’aux premières heures du jour. Le traitement en détention était très mauvais, humiliant et dégradant. Je me suis haï et je sentais que ma vie était détruite mais au même temps elle était trop précieuse pour la perdre si facilement. J’ai recraché le razoir de ma bouche avant d’être sorti de la chambre où quatre personnes à l’allure impossante, portant la même tenue de CRS et des boucliers de protéction, m’ont violemment emmené dans le grand hall au rez-de-chaussée du centre de détention. J’étais épuisé puisque j’avais fait une grève de la faim depuis plusieurs jours. Dans la chambre à côte de moi un des déportés a essayé de resister et a été battu si sévèrement que du sang a coulé de son nez. Dans le grand hall ils m’ont fouillé avec soin et m’ont escorté jusqu’à la voiture comme un dangerux criminel, deux personnes à ma gauche et à ma droite. Ils ont conduit environ deux heures jusqu’à l’aéroport, il y avait un grand avion sur la piste de décollage. […] A ce moment, j’ai vu mes rêves, mes espoirs, brisés devant moi en entrant dans l’avion.
      Temoignage d’une personne déportée (de Detained Voices)

      Le cade légal : Dublin III

      Ces expulsions se déroulent dans le cadre du règlement Dublin III. Il s’agit de la législation déterminant quel pays européen doit évaluer la demande d’asile d’une personne réfugiée. Cette décision implique un certain nombre de critères, l’un des principaux étant le regroupement familial et l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant. Un autre critère, dans le cas des personnes franchissant la frontières sans papiers, est le premier pays dans lequel ils entrent « irrégulièrement ». Dans cette loi, ce critère est supposé être moins important que les attaches familiales. Mais il est communément employé par les gouvernements cherchant à rediriger les demandes d’asile à d’autres Etats. Toutes les personnes que nous connaissions sur ces vols étaient « dublinés » car le Royaume-Uni prétendait qu’ils avaient été en France, en Allemagne ou en Espagne.

      (Voir : briefing à l’introduction du House of Commons ; Home Office staff handbook (manuel du personnel du ministère de l’intérieur ; section Dublin Right to remain .)

      En se référant au règlement Dublin, le Royaume-Uni évite d’examiner les cas de demande d’asile. Ces personnes ne sont pas expulsées parce que leur demande d’asile a été refusée. Leurs demandes ne sont simplement jamais examinées. La décision d’appliquer le règlement Dublin est prise après la premier entretien filmé ( à ce jour, au centre de détention de Yarl’s Wood). Comme nous l’avons vu plus haut, peu de personnes sont dans la capacité d’avoir accès à une assistance juridique avant ces entretiens, quelquefois menés par téléphone et sans traduction adéquate.

      Avec le Dublin III, le Royaume-Uni doit faire la demande formelle au gouvernement qu’il croit responsable d’examiner la demande d’asile, de reprendre le demandeur et de lui présenter la preuve à savoir pourquoi ce gouvernement devrait en accepter la responsabilité. Généralement, la preuve produite est le fichier des empreintes enregistrées par un autre pays sur la base de données EURODAC, à travers toute l’Europe.

      Cependant, lors des récents cas d’expulsion, le Home Office n’a pas toujours produit les empreintes, mais a choisi de se reposer sur de fragiles preuves circonstantielles. Certains pays ont refusé ce type de preuve, d’autres en revanche l’ont accepté, notamment la France.

      Il semble y avoir un mode de fonctionnement récurrent dans ces affaires où la France accepte les retours de Dublin III, quand bien même d’autres pays l’ont refusé. Le gouvernement français pourrait avoir été encouragé à accepter les « reprises/retours » fondés sur des preuves fragiles, dans le cadre des récentes négociations américano-britanniques sur la traversée de la Manche (La France aurait apparemment demandé 30 millions de livres pour aider la Grande-Bretagne à rendre la route non viable.)

      En théorie, accepter une demande Dublin III signifie que la France (ou tout autre pays) a pris la responsabilité de prendre en charge la demande d’asile d’un individu. Dans la pratique, la plupart des individus arrivés à Clermont-Ferrand le 26 août n’ont pas eu l’opportunité de demander l’asile. A la place, des arrêtés d’expulsion leur ont été adressés, leur ordonnant de quitter la France et l’Europe. On ne leur donne que 48h pour faire appel de l’ordre d’expulsion, sans plus d’information sur le dispositif légal. Ce qui apparaît souvent comme quasi impossible pour une personne venant d’endurer une expulsion forcée et qui pourrait nécessiter des soins médicaux urgents.

      Suite au Brexit, le Royaume-Uni ne participera pas plus au Dublin III à partir du 31 décembre 2020. Puisqu’il y a des signataires de cet accord hors Union-Européenne, comme la Suisse et la Norvège, le devenir de ces arrangements est encore flou (comme tout ce qui concerne le Brexit). S’il n’y a d’accord global, le Royaume-Uni devra négocier plusieurs accords bilatéraux avec les pays européens. Le schéma d’expulsion accéléré établi par la France sans processus d’évaluation adéquat de la demande d’asile pourrait être un avant-goût des choses à venir.
      Conclusion : expéditif – et illégal ?

      Évidemment, les expulsions par charter sont l’un des outils les plus manifestement brutaux employés par le régime frontalier du Royaume Uni. Elles impliquent l’emploi d’une violence moralement dévastatrice par le Home Office et ses entrepreneurs ((Mitie, Titan Airways, Britannia Hotels, et les autres) contre des personnes ayant déjà traversé des histoires traumatiques.

      Car les récentes expulsions de ceux qui ont traversé la Manche semblent particulièrement expéditives. Des personnes qui ont risqué le vie dans la Manche sont récupérées par une machine destinée à nier leur droit d’asile et à les expulser aussi vite que possible, pour satisfaire le besoin d’une réaction rapide à la dernière panique médiatique. De nouvelles procédures semblent avoir mises en place spontanément par des officiels du Ministère de l’Intérieur ainsi que des accords officieux avec leurs homologues français.

      En résultat de ce travail bâclé, il semble y avoir un certain nombre d’irrégularités dans la procédure. Certaines ont déjà été signalées dans des recours juridiques efficaces contre le vol vers l’Espagne du 27 août. La détention et l’expulsion des personnes qui ont traversé la Manche en bateau peut avoir été largement illégale et est susceptible d’être remise en cause plus profondément des deux côtés de la Manche.

      Ici, nous résumerons quelques enjeux spécifiques.

      La nature profondément politique du processus d’expulsion pour ces personnes qui ont fait la traversée sur de petits bateaux, ce qui signifie qu’on leur refuse l’accès à une procédure de demande d’asile évaluée par le Home Office.
      Les personnes réfugiées incluent des personnes victimes de torture, de trafic humain, aussi bien que des mineurs.
      Des individus sont détenus, précipités d’entretiens en entretiens, et « dublinés » sans la possibilité d’avoir accès à une assistance juridique et aux informations nécessaires.
      Afin d’éviter d’avoir à considérer des demandes d’asile, la Grande-Bretagne applique le règlement Dublin III, souvent en employant de faibles preuves circonstancielles – et la France accepte ces demandes, peut-être en conséquence des récentes négociations et arrangements financiers.
      De nombreuses personnes expulsées ont des attaches familiales au Royaume-Uni, mais le critère primordial du rapprochement familial du rêglement Dublin III est ignoré
      En acceptant les demandes Dublin, la France prend la responsabilité légale des demandes d’asile. Mais en réalité, elle prive ces personnes de la possibilité de demander l’asile, en leur assignant des papiers d’expulsion.
      Ces papiers d’expulsions (« Obligation de quitter le territoire français » and « Interdiction de retour sur le territoire français » ou OQTF et IRTF) sont assignées et il n’est possible de faire appel que dans les 48 heures qui suivent. C’est inadéquat pour assurer une procédure correcte, à plus forte raison pour des personnes traumatisées, passées par la détention, l’expulsion, larguées au milieu de nulle part, dans un pays où elles n’ont aucun contact et dont elles ne parlent pas la langue.
      Tout cela invalide complètement les arguments du Home Office qui soutient que les personnes qu’il expulse peuvent avoir accès à une procédure de demande d’asile équitable en France.

      https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/sen-debarrasser-le-royaume-uni-se-precipite-pour-

  • UK Deportations 2020: how BA, #Easyjet and other airlines collaborate with the border regime

    The Home Office’s deportation machine has slowed during the corona crisis, with hundreds of people released from detention. But a recent charter flight to Poland shows the motor is still ticking over. Will things just go “back to normal” as the lockdown lifts, or can anti-deportation campaigners push for a more radical shift? This report gives an updated overview of the UK deportation system and focuses in on the role of scheduled flights run by major airlines including: #BA, Easyjet, #Kenya_Airways, #Qatar_Airways, #Turkish_Airlines, #Ethiopian_Airlines, #Air_France, #Royal_Jordanian, and #Virgin.

    On 30 April, with UK airports largely deserted during the Covid-19 lockdown, a Titan Airways charter plane took off from Stansted airport deporting 35 people to Poland. This was just a few days after reports of charter flights in the other direction, as UK farmers hired planes to bring in Eastern European fruit-pickers.

    The Home Office’s deportation machine has slowed during the corona crisis. Hundreds of people have been released from detention centres, with detainee numbers dropping by 900 over the first four months of 2020. But the Poland flight signals that the Home Office motor is still ticking over. As in other areas, perhaps the big question now is whether things will simply go “back to normal” as the lockdown lifts. Or can anti-deportation campaigners use this window to push for a more radical shift?
    An overview of the UK’s deportation machine

    Last year, the UK Home Office deported over seven thousand people. While the numbers of people “removed” have been falling for several years, deportation remains at the heart of the government’s strategy (if that is the term) for “tackling illegal immigration”. It is the ultimate threat behind workplace and dawn raids, rough-sleeper round-ups, “right to rent” checks, reporting centre queues, and other repressive architecture of the UK Border Regime.

    This report gives an overview of the current state of UK deportations, focusing on scheduled flights run by major airlines. Our previous reports on UK deportations have mainly looked at charter flights: where the Home Office aims to fill up chartered planes to particular destinations, under heavy guard and typically at night from undisclosed locations. These have been a key focus for anti-deportation campaigners for a number of reasons including their obvious brutality, and their use as a weapon to stifle legal and direct resistance. However, the majority of deportations are on scheduled flights. Deportees are sitting – at the back handcuffed to private security “escorts” – amongst business or holiday travellers.

    These deportations cannot take place without extensive collaboration from businesses. The security guards are provided by outsourcing company Mitie. The tickets are booked by business travel multinational Carlson Wagonlit. The airlines themselves are household names, from British Airways to Easyjet. This report explains how the Home Office and its private sector collaborators work together as a “deportation machine” held together by a range of contractual relationships.

    Some acknowledgements

    Many individuals and campaign groups helped with information used in this report. In particular, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants shared their valuable research and legal advice, discussed below.

    We have produced this report in collaboration with the Air Deportation Project led by William Walters at the University of Carleton in Canada, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Corporate Watch received funding from this project as a contribution for our work on this report.

    Names, numbers

    First a quick snapshot of deportation numbers, types and destinations. We also need to clear up some terminology.

    We will use the term “deportations” to refer to all cases where the Home Office moves someone out of the country under direct force (for scheduled flights, this usually means handcuffed to a security “escort”). In the Home Office’s own jargon, these are called “enforced returns”, and the word “deportation” is reserved for people ejected on “public policy” rather than “immigration” grounds – mostly Foreign National Offenders who have been convicted by criminal courts. The Home Office refers to deportations carried out under immigration law euphemistically, calling them “removals” or “returns”.i

    As well as “enforced returns”, there are also so-called “voluntary returns”. This means that there is no direct use of force – no guard, no leg or arm restraints. But the term “voluntary” is stretched. Many of these take place under threat of force: e.g., people are pressured to sign “voluntary return” agreements to avoid being forcibly deported, or as the only chance of being released from detention. In other cases, people may agree to “voluntary return” as the only escape route from a limbo of reporting controls, lack of rights to work or rent legally, or destitution threatened by “no recourse to public funds”.

    In 2019, the Home Office reported a total of 18,782 returns: 7,361 “enforced” and 11,421 “voluntary”.ii
    These figures include 5,110 “Foreign National Offenders” (27%). (The Home Office says the majority of these were enforced returns, although no precise figure is provided.)
    There is a notable trend of declining removals, both enforced and “voluntary”. For example, in 2015 there were 41,789 returns altogether, 13,690 enforced and 28,189 “voluntary”. Both enforced and voluntary figures have decreased every year since then.
    Another notable trend concerns the nationalities of deportees. Europeans make up an increasing proportion of enforced deportations. 3,498, or 48%, of all enforced returns in 2019 were EU citizens – and this does not include other heavily targeted non-EU European nationalities such as Albanians. In 2015, there were 3,848 EU enforced returns – a higher absolute figure, but only 28% of a much higher overall total. In contrast, EU nationals still make up a very small percentage of “voluntary” returns – there were only 107 EU “voluntary returns” in 2019.
    The top nationalities for enforced returns in 2019 were: Romania (18%), Albania (12%), Poland (9%), Brazil (8%) and Lithuania (6%). For voluntary returns they were: India (16%), China (9%), Pakistan (9%).

    We won’t present any analysis of these figures and trends here. The latest figures show continuing evidence of patterns we looked at in our book The UK Border Regime.iii One key point we made there was that, as the resources and physical force of the detention and deportation system are further diminished, the Border Regime is more than ever just a “spectacle” of immigration enforcement – a pose for media and key voter audiences, rather than a realistic attempt to control migration flows. We also looked at how the scapegoat groups targeted by this spectacle have shifted over recent decades – including, most recently, a new focus on European migration accompanying, or in fact anticipating, the Brexit debate.

    Deportation destinations

    Home Office Immigration Statistics also provide more detailed dataiv on the destinations people are “returned” to, which will be important when we come to look at routes and airline involvement. Note that, while there is a big overlap between destinations and nationalities, they are of course not the same thing. For example, many of those deported to France and other western European countries are “third country” removals of refugees under the Dublin agreement – in which governments can deport an asylum seeker where they have already been identified in another EU country.

    Here are the top 20 destinations for deportations in 2019 – by which, to repeat, we mean all enforced returns:

    It is worth comparing these figures with a similar table of top 20 deportation destinations in the last 10 years – between 2010 and 2019. This comparison shows very strongly the recent shift to targeting Europeans.

    The Home Office: who is targeted and how

    As we will see, the actual physical business of deporting people is outsourced to private companies. The state’s role remains giving the orders about who is targeted for arrest and detention, who is then released, and who is forced onto a plane. Here we’ll just take a very quick look at the decision-making structures at work on the government side. This is based on the much more detailed account in The UK Border Regime.

    The main state body responsible for immigration control in the UK is the Home Office, the equivalent of other countries’ Interior Ministries. In its current set-up, the Home Office has three divisions: Homeland Security, which runs security and intelligence services; Public Safety, which oversees the police and some other institutions; and Borders, Immigration and Citizenship. The last of these is further divided into three “directorates”: UK Visas and Immigration, which determines visa and asylum applications; Border Force, responsible for control at the frontiers; Immigration Enforcement, responsible for control within the national territory – including detention and deportations. Immigration Enforcement itself has an array of further departments and units. Regular restructuring and reshuffling of all these structures is known to bewilder immigration officers themselves, contributing to the Home Office’s notoriously low morale.v

    At the top of the tree is the Home Secretary (interior minister), supported by a more junior Immigration Minister. Along with the most senior civil servants and advisors, these ministers will be directly involved in setting top-level policies on deportations.

    For example, an enquiry led by then prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw into the Yarl’s Wood detention centre revolt in 2002 has given us some valuable insight into the development of modern Home Office deportation policy under the last Labour government. Then Home Secretary Jack Straw, working with civil servants including the Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Omand, introduced the first deportation targets we are aware of, in 2000. They agreed a plan to deport 12,000 people in 2000-1, rising to 30,000 people the next year, and eventually reaching 57,000 in 2003-4.vi

    Nearly two decades later, Home Secretary Amber Rudd was pushed to resign after a leak confirmed that the Home Office continued to operate a deportation targets policy, something of which she had denied knowledge.vii The 2017-18 target, revealed in a leaked letter to Rudd from Immigration Enforcement’s director general Hugh Ind, was for 12,800 enforced returns.viii

    As the figures discussed above show, recent austerity era Conservative governments are more modest than the last Labour government in their overall deportation targets, and have moved to target different groups. Jack Straw’s deportation programme was almost entirely focused on asylum seekers whose claims had been refused. This policy derived from what the Blair government saw as an urgent need to respond to media campaigns demonising asylum seekers. Twenty years on, asylum seekers now make up a minority of deportees, and have been overtaken by new media bogeymen including European migrants.

    In addition, recent Home Office policy has put more effort into promoting “voluntary” returns – largely for cost reasons, as security guards and detention are expensive. This was the official rationale behind Theresa May’s infamous “racist van” initiative, where advertising vans drove round migrant neighbourhoods parading “Go Home” slogans and a voluntary return hotline number.

    How do Home Office political targets translate into operations on the ground? We don’t know all the links, but can trace some main mechanisms. Enforced returns begin with arrests. One of the easiest ways to find potential deportees is to grab people as they walk in to sign at an Immigration Reporting Centre. 80,000 migrants in the UK are “subject to reporting requirements”, and all Reporting Centres include short-term holding cells.ix Other deportees are picked up during immigration raids – such as daytime and evening raids on workplaces, or dawn raids to catch “immigration offenders” in their beds.x

    Both reporting centre caseworkers and Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) raid squads are issued with targets and incentives to gather deportees. An Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) report from 2017 explains how reporting centre staff work specifically to deportation targets. The inspector also tells us how:

    Staff at the London Reporting Centres worked on the basis that to meet their removal targets they needed to detain twice the number of individuals, as around half of those detained would later raise a barrier to removal and be released from detention.

    ICE raid teams are set monthly priorities by national and regional commanders, which may include targeting specific nationalities for deportation. For example, the Home Office has repeatedly denied that it sets nationality targets in order to fill up charter flights to particular destinations – but this practice was explicitly confirmed by an internal document from 2014 (an audit report from the director of Harmondsworth detention centre) obtained by Corporate Watch following a Freedom of Information legal battle.xi

    Day-to-day deportation and detention decisions are overseen by a central unit called the National Removals Command (NRC). For example, after ICE raid officers make arrests they must call NRC to authorise individuals’ detention. This decision is made on the basis of any specific current targets, and otherwise on general “removability”.

    “Removability” means the chance of successfully getting their “subject” onto a plane without being blocked by lack of travel documents, legal challenges and appeals, or other obstacles. For example, nationals of countries with whom the UK has a formal deportation agreement are, all other things being equal, highly removable. This includes the countries with which the UK has set up regular charter flight routes – including Albania, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana, and more recently Jamaica and a number of EU countries. On the other extreme, some nationalities such as Iranians present a problem as their governments refuse to accept deportees.

    The Home Office: “arranging removal” procedure

    A Home Office document called “Arranging Removal” sets out the steps Immigration Enforcement caseworkers need to take to steer their “subject” from arrest to flight.xii

    On the one hand, they are under pressure from penny-pinching bosses keen to get the job done as quick and cheap as possible. On the other, they have to be careful not to make any mistakes deportees’ lawyers could use to get flights cancelled. Immigration Officers have the legal power to order deportations without the need for any court decision – however, many deportations are blocked on appeal to courts.

    Here are some of the main steps involved:

    Removability assessment. The caseworker needs to assess that: there are no “casework barriers” – e.g., an ongoing asylum claim or appeal that would lead to the deportation being stopped by a court; the detainee is medically “fit to fly”; any family separation is authorised correctly; the detainee has a valid travel document.
    Travel Document. If there is no valid travel document, the caseworker can try to obtain an “emergency travel document” through various routes.
    Executive approval. If all these criteria are met, the caseworker gets authorisation from a senior office to issue Removal Directions (RD) paperwork.
    Risk Assessment. Once the deportation is agreed, the caseworker needs to assess risks that might present themselves on the day of the flight – such as medical conditions, the likelihood of detainee resistance and of public protest. At this point escorts and/or medics are requested. A version of this risk assessment is sent to the airline – but without case details or medical history.xiii
    Flight booking. The caseworker must first contact the Airline Ticketing Team who grant access to an online portal called the Electronic Removal Form (ERF). This portal is run by the Home Office’s flight booking contractor Carlson Wagonlit (see below). Tickets are booked for escorts and any medics as well as the deportee. There are different options including “lowest cost” non-refundable fares, or “fully refundable” – the caseworker here should assess how likely the deportation is to be cancelled. One of the options allows the caseworker to choose a specific airline.
    Notice of removal. Finally, the deportee must be served with a Removal Directions (RD) document that includes notification of the deportation destination and date. This usually also includes the flight number. The deportee must be given sufficient notice: for people already in detention this is standardly 72 hours, including two working days, although longer periods apply in some situations.

    In 2015 the Home Office brought in a new policy of issuing only “removal window” notification in many cases – this didn’t specify the date but only a wide timeframe. The window policy was successfully challenged in the courts in March 2019 and is currently suspended.

    #Carlson_Wagonlit

    The electronic booking system is run by a private company, #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT). CWT is also in charge of contracting charter flights.

    Carlson Wagonlit has been the Home Office’s deportation travel agent since 2004, with the contract renewed twice since then. Its current seven year contract, worth £5.7 million, began in November 2017 and will last until October 2024 (assuming the two year extension period is taken up after an initial five years). The Home Office estimated in the contract announcement that it will spend £200 million on deportation tickets and charters over that seven year period.xiv

    Carlson is a global #business travel services company, i.e., a large scale travel agent and booker for companies and government agencies. Its official head office is in France, but it is 100% owned by US conglomerate #Carlson_Companies Inc. It claims to be active in more than 150 countries.

    A report on “outsourced contracts” by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration gives us some information on CWT’s previous (2010-17) contract.xv This is unlikely to be substantially changed in the new version, although deportation numbers have reduced since then. The contract involved:

    management of charter flights and ticketing provision for scheduled flights for migrants subject to enforced removal and escorts, where required, and the management of relationships with carriers to maintain and expand available routes. […] Annually, CWT processed approximately 21,000 booking requests from Home Office caseworkers for tickets for enforced removals. Some booking requests were for multiple travellers and/or more than one flight and might involve several transactions. CWT also managed flight rescheduling, cancellations and refunds. The volume of transactions processed varied from 5,000 to 8,000 per month.

    The inspection report notes the value of CWT’s service to the Home Office through using its worldwide contacts to facilitate deportations:

    Both Home Office and CWT managers noted that CWT’s position as a major travel operator had enabled it to negotiate favourable deals with airlines and, over the life of the contract to increase the range of routes available for enforced removals. (Para 5.10).

    The airlines: regular deportation collaborators

    We saw above that Home Office caseworkers book flight tickets through an online portal set up and managed by Carlson Wagonlit Travel. We also saw how CWT is praised by Home Office managers for its strong relationships with airlines, and ability to negotiate favourable deals.

    For charter flight deportations, we know that CWT has developed a particular relationship with one charter company called Titan Airways. We have looked at Titan in our previous reports on charter flight deportations.

    Does the Home Office also have specific preferred airline partners for scheduled flights? Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer. Under government procurement rules, the Home Office is required to provide information on contracts it signs – thus, for example, we have at least a redacted version of the contract with CWT. But as all its airline bookings go through the intermediary of CWT, there are no such contracts available. Claiming “commercial confidentiality”, the Home Office has repeatedly information requests on its airline deals. (We will look in a bit more depth at this issue in the annex.)

    As a result, we have no centrally-gathered aggregate data on airline involvement. Our information comes from individual witnesses: deportees themselves; their lawyers and supporters; fellow passengers, and plane crew. Lawyers and support groups involved in deportation casework are a particularly helpful reference, as they may know about multiple deportation cases.

    For this report, we spoke to more than a dozen immigration lawyers and caseworkers to ask which airlines their clients had been booked on. We also spoke to anti-deportation campaign groups including Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, who have run recent campaigns calling on airlines to refuse to fly deportees; and to the trade union Unite, who represent flight crew workers. We also looked at media reports of deportation flights that identify airlines.

    These sources name a large number of airlines, and some names come up repeatedly. British Airways is top of the list. We list a few more prominent collaborators below: Easyjet, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian. Virgin Airlines is the only company to have publicly announced it has stopped carrying deportees from the UK – although there have been some questions over whether it is keeping this promise.

    However, the information we have does not allow us to determine the exact nature of the relationship with these airlines. How many airlines appear in the CWT booking system – what determines which ones are included? Does CWT have a preferential arrangement with BA or other frequent deportation airlines? Does the Home Office itself have any direct interaction with these airlines’ management? How many airlines are not included in the CWT booking system because they have refused to carry deportees?

    For now, we have to leave these as open questions.

    British Airways

    We have numerous reports of British Airways flying deportees to destinations worldwide – including African and Caribbean destinations, amongst others. Cabin crew representatives in Unite the Union identify British Airways as the main airline they say is involved in deportation flights.

    The airline has long been a key Home Office collaborator. Back in 2003, at the height of the Labour government’s push to escalate deportations, the “escort” security contractor was a company called Loss Prevention International. In evidence to a report by the House of Commons home affairs committee, its chief executive Tom Davies complained that many airlines at this point were refusing to fly deportees. But he singled out BA as the notable exception, saying: “if it were not for […] the support we get from British Airways, the number of scheduled flight removals that we would achieve out of this country would be virtually nil”.xvi

    In 2010, British Airways’ role was highlighted when Jimmy Mubenga was killed by G4S “escorts” on BA flight 77 from Heathrow to Angola.

    Since 2018, there has been an active calling on BA to stop its collaboration. The profile of this issue was raised after BA sponsored Brighton Pride in May 2018 – whilst being involved in deportations of lesbian and gay migrants to African countries where their lives were in danger. After winning a promise from Virgin Airways to cease involvement in deportations (see below), the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) have made BA the main target for their anti-deportation campaigning.

    The campaign has also now been supported by BA cabin crew organised in the union Unite. In December 2019 Unite cabin crew branches passed a motion against airline scheduled flight deportations.xvii

    Kenya Airways

    We have numerous reports from caseworkers and campaigners of Kenya Airways flying deportees to destinations in Africa.

    The typical route is a flight from Heathrow to Nairobi, followed by a second onward flight. People deported using this route have included refugees from Sudan and Somalia.

    Easyjet

    We have numerous reports of Easyjet flying deportees to European destinations. Easyjet appears to be a favoured airline for deportations to Eastern European countries, and also for “third country” returns to countries including Italy and Germany. While most UK scheduled deportations are carried out from Heathrow and Gatwick, we have also seen accounts of Easyjet deportations from Luton.

    Qatar Airways

    We have numerous reports of Qatar Airways carrying deportees to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Qatar Airways has carried deportees to Iraq, according to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), and also to Sudan. (In March 2019 the airline suspended its Sudan route, but this appears to have been restarted – the company website currently advertises flights to Khartoum in April 2020.xviii) Other destinations include Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Uganda. The typical route is from Heathrow via Doha.

    Turkish Airlines

    We have numerous reports of Turkish Airlines carrying deportees. The typical route is Heathrow or Gatwick to Istanbul, then an onward flight to further destinations including Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), Turkish Airlines has been one of the main companies involved in deportations to Iraq. A media report from June 2019 also mentions Turkish Airlines carrying someone being deported to Somalia via Istanbul.xix In August 2017, a Turkish Airlines pilot notably refused to fly an Afghani refugee from Heathrow to Istanbul, en route to Kabul, after being approached by campaigners – but this does not reflect general company policy.xx

    Ethiopian Airlines

    We have reports of this airline deporting people to Ethiopia and other African countries, including Sudan. Flights are from Heathrow to Addis Ababa. In April 2018, high-profile Yarl’s Wood hunger striker Opelo Kgari was booked on an Ethiopian flight to Addis Ababa en route to Botswana.

    Air France

    Air France are well-known for carrying deportees from France, and have been a major target for campaigning by anti-deportation activists there. We also have several reports of them carrying deportees from the UK, on flights from Heathrow via Paris.

    Royal Jordanian

    According to IFIR, Royal Jordanian has been involved in deportations to Iraq.

    Virgin Airlines

    In June 2018, Virgin announced that it had ceased taking bookings for deportation flights. Virgin had previously been a regular carrier for deportations to Jamaica and to Nigeria. (NB: Nigeria is often used as a deportation transit hub from where people are subsequently removed to other African countries.) The announcement came after the Windrush scandal led to the Home Office apparently suspending deportations to the Caribbean, and following campaigning by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) – although Virgin claimed it had made the decision before being contacted by the campaign. A Virgin statement said:

    we made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have already informed the Home Office. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our customers and people, and is in keeping with our values as a company.xxi

    But there are doubts over just how much Virgin’s promise is worth. According to a report by The Independent:

    The airline had agreed to deport a man to Nigeria […] a day after announcing the decision. The only reason he wasn’t removed was because the Home Office agreed to consider new representations following legal intervention.xxii

    Do airlines have a choice?

    In response to its critics, British Airways has consistently given the same reply: it has no choice but to cooperate with the Home Office. According to an August 2018 article in The Guardian, BA says that it has “a legal duty under the Immigration Act 1971 to remove individuals when asked to do so by the Home Office.” A company spokesperson is quoted saying:

    Not fulfilling this obligation amounts to breaking the law. We are not given any personal information about the individual being deported, including their sexuality or why they are being deported. The process we follow is a full risk assessment with the Home Office, which considers the safety of the individual, our customers and crew on the flight.xxiii

    The last parts of this answer fit the process we looked at above. When booking the flight, the Home Office caseworker sends the airline a form called an Airline Risk Report (ARA) which alerts it to risk issues, and specifies why escorts or medics are needed – including an assessment of the likelihood of resistance. But no information should be shared on the deportee’s medical issues or immigration case and reasons for deportation.

    But is it true that an airline would be breaking the law if it refused a booking? Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants have shared with us a legal opinion they received from law firm Duncan Lewis on this issue. We summarise the main points here.

    The law in question is the Immigration Act 1971, Section 27(1)(b)(iii). This states that, when issued the correct legal order by the Home Office, the “owner or agent of a ship or aircraft” must “make arrangements for or in connection with the removal of a person from the United Kingdom when required to do so [by appropriate Removal Directions]”. It is an offence to fail to do so “without reasonable excuse”.

    The offence is punishable by a fine, and potentially a prison sentence of up to six months. As a minor “summary only” offence, any case would be heard by a magistrates’ court rather than a jury.

    In fact many airline captains have refused to carry deportees – as we will see in the next section. But there are no recorded cases of anyone ever being prosecuted for refusing. As with many areas of UK immigration law, there is simply no “case law” on this question.

    If a case ever does come to court, it might turn on that clause about a “reasonable excuse”. The legal opinion explains that the airline might argue they refused to carry a deportee because doing so would present a risk to the aircraft or passengers, for example if there is resistance or protest. A court might well conclude this was “reasonable”.

    On the other hand, the “reasonable excuse” defence could be harder to apply for an airline that took a principled stand to refuse all deportations as a general rule, whether or not there is disruption.

    Again, though, all this is hypothetical as the Home Office has never actually prosecuted anyone. Virgin Airlines, the first company to have publicly stated that it will not fly deportees from the UK, so far has not faced any legal comeback. As reported in the press, a Virgin spokesperson explained the company’s position like this:

    We’ve made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have informed the Home Office. We always comply with the law and would continue to comply with legislation; however, we have ended our contractual agreement to carry involuntary deportees.xxiv

    Due to our lack of information on Home Office agreements with airlines, it’s hard to assess exactly what this means. Possibly, Virgin previously had an outstanding deal with the Home Office and Carlson Wagonlit where their tickets came up on the CWT booking portal and were available for caseworkers, and this has now ended. If the Home Office insisted on contacting them and booking a ticket regardless, they might then be pushed to “comply with the law”.

    Above we saw that, according to evidence referred to in a report of the House of Commons home affairs select committee, in 2003 the majority of airlines actually refused to carry deportees, leaving the Home Office to depend almost exclusively on British Airways. Even in this context there were no prosecutions of airlines.

    This is not an uncommon situation across UK immigration law: much of it has never come to court. For example, as we have discussed in reports on immigration raids, there have been no legal cases testing many of the powers of ICE raid squads. To give another example, on numerous occasions campaigners have obstructed buses taking detainees to charter flights without any prosecution – the Stansted 15 trial of protestors blocking a plane inside the airport was the first high-profile legal case following an anti-deportation action.

    Even if the government has a legal case for prosecuting airlines, this could be a highly controversial move politically. The Home Office generally prefers not to expose the violence of its immigration enforcement activities to the challenge of a public legal hearing.

    Resistance

    We want to conclude this report on an upbeat note. Deportations, and scheduled airline flights in particular, are a major site of struggle. Resistance is not just possible but widespread and often victorious. Thousands of people have managed to successfully stop their “removals” through various means, including the following:

    Legal challenges: a large number of flights are stopped because of court appeals and injunctions.
    Public campaigning: there is a strong tradition of anti-deportation campaigning in the UK, usually supporting individuals with media-focused and political activity. Common tactics include: media articles highlighting the individual’s case; enlisting MPs and appealing to ministers; petitions, letters of support; mass phone calls, emails, etc., to airlines; demos or leafletting at the airport targeting air crew and passengers.
    Solidarity action by passengers: in some high-profile cases, passengers have refused to take their seats until deportees are removed. This creates a safety situation for the airline which may often lead to the pilot ordering escorts to remove their prisoner.
    Direct action by detainees: many detainees have been able to get off flights by putting up a struggle. This may involve, for example: physically resisting escorts; taking off clothes; shouting and appealing to passengers and air crew for help. Unless the deportee is extremely strong physically, the balance of force is with the escorts – and sometimes this can be lethal, as in the case of Jimmy Mubenga. However, pilots may often order deportees off their plane in the case of disruption.

    There are many reports of successful resistance using one or more of these tactics. And we can also get some glimpses of their overall power from a few pieces of aggregate information.

    In a 2016 report, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration revealed one telling figure. Looking at the figures for six months over 2014-15, he found that “on average 2.5 tickets were issued for each individual successfully removed.”xxv Some of this can be put down to the notorious inefficiency of Home Office systems: the Inspection report looks at several kinds of coordination failures between Home Office caseworkers, the escort contractor (at that point a subsidiary of Capita), and Carlson Wagonlit.

    But this is not the biggest factor. In fact, the same report breaks down the reasons for cancellation for a sample of 136 tickets. 51% of the sampled cancellations were the result of legal challenges. 18% were because of “disruptive or non-compliant behaviour”. 2% (i.e., three cases) were ascribed to “airline refusal to carry”.

    Where there is resistance, there is also reaction. As we have discussed in previous reports, one of the main reasons prompting the development of charter flights was to counter resistance by isolating deportees from passengers and supporters. This was very clearly put in 2009 by David Wood, then strategic director of the UK Border Agency (Home Office), who explained that the charter flight programme is:

    “a response to the fact that some of those being deported realised that if they made a big enough fuss at the airport – if they took off their clothes, for instance, or started biting and spitting – they could delay the process. We found that pilots would then refuse to take the person on the grounds that other passengers would object.”xxvi

    For both deportees and supporters, charter flights are much harder to resist. But they are also very expensive; require specific diplomatic agreements with destination countries; and in some cases (Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) have been blocked by legal and political means.xxvii The Home Office cannot avoid the use of scheduled flights for the majority of deportations, and it will continue to face resistance.

    –—
    Annex: issues with accessing airline information

    We will expand a bit here on the issues around obtaining information on the Home Office’s relationships with airlines.

    Under UK and EU public sector procurement rules, central government departments are obliged to publish announcements of all contracts valued over £10,000, including on the contractsfinder website. However, there is no publicly available information on any contracts between the Home Office and specific airlines. This is legally justifiable if the Home Office has no direct contractual agreements with airlines. It has a signed contract with Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), which is published in a redacted form; and CWT then makes arrangements with airlines on a per-ticket basis.

    The Home Office certainly has knowledge of all the tickets booked on its behalf by CWT – indeed, they are booked by its own employees through the CWT maintained portal. And so it certainly knows all the airlines working for it. But it has refused all requests for this information, using the excuse of “commercial confidentiality”.

    There have been numerous attempts to request information on deportation airlines using the Freedom of Information Act.xxviii All have been refused on similar grounds. To give one standard example, in December 2018 A. Liberadzki requested statistics for numbers of removals carried out by British Airways and other scheduled airlines. The response confirmed “that the Home Office holds the information that you have requested.” However, it argued that:

    “we have decided that the information is exempt from disclosure under sections 31(1)e and 43(2) of the FOIA. These provide that information can be withheld if its disclosure would have a detrimental effect on the Home Office and its ability to operate effective immigration controls by carrying out removals or would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any persons (including the public authority holding it).”

    In April 2019 Kate Osamor MP put similar questions to the Home Secretary in parliament.xxix She received the same reply to all her questions:

    “The Home Office does not disclose the details or values of its commercial contracts. Doing so could discourage companies from dealing with the Home Office.”

    Of course this answer is blatantly false – as we just saw, the Home Office is legally obliged to disclose values of commercial contracts over £10,000.

    https://corporatewatch.org/uk-deportations-2020-how-ba-easyjet-and-other-airlines-collaborate-w

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