• 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:

    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.


    #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.


  • 100 panneaux publicitaires contre l’automobile

    Début septembre, une vague de #publicités parodiques pour les voitures est apparue sur les panneaux d’affichage et aux arrêts de bus au #royaume-uni, à Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Leeds et Lire la suite...

    #Fin_de_l'automobile #actions #affiche #angleterre #constructeurs #guérilla_urbaine #londres

  • On s’en doutait, et on se doutait aussi que les preuves finiraient par sortir, même trop tard, alors les voici :

    Le rapport trompeur sur l’antisémitisme, qui a coulé Jeremy Corbyn
    Asa Winstanley – The Electronic Intifada – 24 août 2020

    Ajouter à la liste des accusations d’antisémitisme contre #Jeremy_Corbyn :

    #Royaume-Uni #Grande-Bretagne #UK #Labour #Parti_Travailliste #antisémitisme #antisionisme #Palestine #censure

  • Voici les pays où le taux de #mortalité du #Covid-19 est le plus élevé

    Les taux de mortalité peuvent grandement diverger d’un pays à l’autre pour plusieurs raisons. Pour commencer, ces statistiques peuvent être mesurées de différentes manières. Dans sa méthode de calcul, la #Belgique prend par exemple en considération les décès suspects de personnes qui n’ont pas pu être testées, tandis que le #Royaume-Uni inclut seulement les décès d’individus qui ont été testés positifs au virus.

  • La vallée aux merveilles

    Après une rupture amoureuse douloureuse, Jeanne, 16 ans, est envoyée chez sa tante dans la vallée de la Roya. Elle y découvre, stupéfaite, que cette dernière est une militante active, venant en aide aux migrants qui tentent de passer la frontière italienne pour entrer en #France.


    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Roya #Vallée_de_la_roya #frontières #Italie #frontière_sud-alpine #livres #livres_pour_enfants #livres_pour_adolescents

  • #Priti_Patel derided over #Royal_Navy threat towards France as Home Office’s approach to migrants is questioned

    Priti Patel’s threat to send the Royal Navy into the English Channel has been derided and her department’s border policy questioned on Twitter.

    The home secretary’s threats come after suggestions a record number of migrants crossed the Channel on Thursday.

    The BBC reports up to 235 migrants made the perilous journey across Britain’s maritime border with France, bringing the total of arrivals since January at nearly 3,900 people.


    According to a Home Office source in the Daily Mail, Patel has accused France’s border force of deliberately allowing migrants to make the crossing and has now threatened to deploy the Royal Navy to tow any new arrivals back to France.

    The move could be illegal under international maritime law and risks alienating the French government, who has partnered with the Home Office to stem the flow of crossings.

    Patel has said the Navy may be used to deploy floating “booms” to block the way for migrant dinghies or stop boats by clogging their propellers with nets.

    A government source acknowledged these were “all [the] options that are being considered”. The source added: “She [Patel] has instructed her officials to speak to the Ministry of Defence about how we can proceed. She has also requested a discussion with the French interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.”

    People vented their frustration with the approach on Twitter, while others questioned the effectiveness.

    Otto English wrote: “When Priti Patel says she ‘wants to send in the Navy’ to stop Channel migrant crossings - what’s her intention? Are warships going to fire shells at kids in rubber dinghies? Is a destroyer going to run them over? What are they going to do that the Border Force isn’t?”

    Rae Richardson called it a load of “meaningless posturing”. “It’s just a load of meaningless posturing to make the government seem effective. (Good luck with that!),” he wrote.

    “The Royal Navy have no authority in French waters so they can’t escort any boats out of UK waters, i.e. they can only do what Border Force are already doing.”

    Michael Moran said: “Sending a gunboat is a tried and trusted method of making things worse.”

    In October, Patel made a pledge to eliminate crossings by spring and negotiated a deal with French authorities.

    The news comes as footage of migrants arriving on the Kent coastline on Thursday surfaced on social media.

    The boat carrying the asylum seekers had ten young children and a heavily pregnant woman, among others, on board.

    In the footage, the woman is seen holding her head in her hands and appears weary while one of the children lays exhausted on the pebbled beach with his arms spread out.

    The Daily Mail suggested the total number of asylum seekers reaching Britain this year is double that from 2019. It failed to provide an explanation for the spike.


    #UK #Angleterre #France #frontières #Manche #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #Calais #armée
    ping @isskein

    • ‘Inappropriate and disproportionate’: Priti Patel suggestion to use navy to combat migrant crossings attacked by MoD

      Priti Patel is discussing using the royal navy to tackle the number of migrants crossing the Channel, prompting accusations from Ministry of Defence sources that the idea is “inappropriate and disproportionate”.

      While facing increasing pressure from MPs on her own back benches, the home secretary also called on France to help prevent people coming to the UK’s shores.

      At least 235 people arrived on small boats on Thursday – a new high for a single day.

      The Home Office is yet to provide a full breakdown of the crossings, meaning the total number could be higher still.

      The home secretary is understood to be keen to know what royal navy vessels and other assets could be deployed.

      It is thought they would be expected to stop boats and send them back to France.

      But a Ministry of Defence source told the PA news agency the idea of using the navy was “completely potty” and could put lives at risk.

      “It is a completely inappropriate and disproportionate approach to take,” they said.

      “We don’t resort to deploying armed force to deal with political failings.

      “It’s beyond absurd to think that we should be deploying multimillion-pound ships and elite soldiers to deal with desperate people barely staying afloat on rubber dinghies in the Channel.

      “It could potentially put people’s lives at even greater risk.

      “Border Force is effectively the Home Office’s own navy fleet, so it begs the question: what are they doing?”

      Ms Patel is facing increasing calls, including from Tory MPs, to deal with the issue.

      The Commons Home Affairs Committee has announced that it has launched an investigation into the crossings.

      Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP and chair of the Commons Defence Committee, backed the use of navy patrols.

      Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, also backed the use of the royal navy, saying: “All options need to be on the table.”
      Immigration minister Chris Philp said he shares “the anger and frustration of the public” at the “appalling number” of crossings.

      Mr Philp is to visit France next week to speak with counterparts following what is understood to have been a “constructive” meeting with the country’s deputy ambassador earlier this week.

      Earlier Ms Patel appeared to call on France to do more.

      She tweeted that the number of illegal small boat crossings was “appalling and unacceptably high” and said she was working to make the route unviable.

      She added: “We also need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France.”

      Almost 4,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year, according to analysis by PA.

      Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said the numbers showed the Home Office had “lost control and all credibility on this issue, fuelling chaos, criminality and untold trauma for those who feel forced to make these dangerous crossings.”

      Resorting to tougher enforcement was “naive grandstanding”, she said.

      “What is needed is recognition that people who reach France will have valid claims to protection in the UK and the urgent development of safe and legal routes for them to do so.

      “This would end the crossings overnight.”

      Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said it was “particularly troubling to see children being put at risk”.

      Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, said: “No one wants to see people making these perilous attempts to cross the Channel. It’s heartbreaking to think how desperate people must be to cram themselves into tiny boats and try.

      “The Tories have been trying the same approach of getting tough on Channel crossings for years, but it’s failed.

      “The only way to prevent these dangerous crossings is to ensure there are safe, legal routes to the UK – especially for vulnerable refugees fleeing war and persecution.”


    • The Guardian view on Channel migrants: shame on the scaremongers

      Ministers should respond with compassion and pragmatism to an upsurge in arrivals of small boats. Instead, we get histrionics

      What do the images of cramped dinghies in the Channel make you feel when you see them? Or pictures of their passengers on the decks of grey Border Force vessels, or disembarking on beaches? More than 4,100 migrants and refugees have reached the UK this year so far in small boats, most of them arriving in Kent. Almost 600 arrived in a surge of crossings between Thursday and Sunday last week.

      While they remain a tiny proportion of the total number of asylum seekers in the UK, which was 35,566 in 2019, the steep increase in arrivals has thrust immigration and asylum back to the top of the news. But the hate mill has been grinding away for months, with the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, using his social media channels and appearances to churn up public anxiety about what these migrants might do when they get here – while crushing out any grains of more generous impulses.

      There is no question that the crossings are a problem. The Channel is the world’s busiest shipping lane. Unlicensed journeys in small boats across the Mediterranean have ended in disaster. The new arrivals include children, around 400 of whom are being looked after by Kent county council.

      No one knows exactly why the traffic has increased so much. Boris Johnson and his ministers, as well as Mr Farage, appear determined to amplify the role of traffickers. But the more likely explanation could be that the pandemic has made entering the UK by other means (air, lorry, ferry) harder, while the weather has made crossing by boat safer than at other times. The conditions at Calais are awful. Far worse are the political and humanitarian situations in many of the countries where the migrants come from – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan – and from which they view the UK as their longed-for safe haven.

      Whatever the reasons for the surge, the UK government’s reaction has been reprehensible. Migration is a difficult global issue that requires international cooperation. For European democracies, with long histories of entanglement with many of the nations that people are fleeing, it presents particular challenges. But having set their face against the EU with their campaign to “take back control” and lacking a plan to replace the Dublin Convention, which enables EU countries to remove some asylum seekers, ministers now appear to be panicking.

      How else to describe the threats by the home secretary, Priti Patel, to make the navy force boats back to France, or the creation of the new post of “clandestine Channel threat commander”? What does it mean for Boris Johnson to declare crossing the Channel in a small boat to be “dangerous and criminal”, when people have the right to travel to claim asylum under UN rules dating back to 1951?

      Not a single refugee has been legally resettled in the UK since March, when an existing scheme was suspended due to Covid-19. Restarting this system (or explaining when the pause will end), so that claims can be processed without people having to present themselves first, is the obvious route back to some form of order. Serious talks with the EU, above all France, will obviously require give as well as take. Last year Germany processed 165,615 asylum claims, and France 151,070. Neither they nor other governments are obliged to help the UK out.

      Two years ago Donald Trump showed the world how low an elected western leader could go on migration with his policy of separating families at the Mexican border. This week, the UK’s home secretary was singled out for praise by our most xenophobic national political figure, Mr Farage. Ms Patel, and more importantly her boss, Mr Johnson, a man who purports to venerate Winston Churchill and the postwar international order that was his legacy, should both be ashamed.


    • Refugees crossing Channel tell of beatings by French police

      Asylum seekers give accounts of injuries, as Priti Patel says many refugees feel France is racist.

      Asylum seekers in the UK and France have described injuries they have received at the hands of French police, as Priti Patel said many were making the perilous journey across the Channel because they believe France is racist.

      The home secretary made her comments in a conference call with Conservative MPs concerned about the recent surge in numbers attempting the voyage in small boats.

      One man in Dunkirk told the Guardian he had recently received injuries to his hands after French police beat him.

      Another man who has reached the UK said he was struck in the face, causing injuries to his eyes. “I was beaten very badly by the French police. I have some injuries to my eyes and I’m still suffering from these injuries,” he said. “The French police are very bad for asylum seekers.”
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
      Read more

      According to reports, Patel told Conservative MPs that refugees and migrants were worried they may be “tortured” in France. Government sources told PA Media that she had made clear she did not share those views and was simply explaining the “pull factors” that led so many people to risk their lives by making the Channel crossing.

      Clare Moseley, of Care4Calais, a charity that works with many asylum seekers in northern France, expressed concern about some of the French police’s treatment of asylum seekers that she had witnessed. “The police seem to be a law unto themselves, “ she said. “It’s the culture I find so shocking.”

      A number of asylum seekers have said one of their reasons for crossing the Channel was to escape police violence, which is especially traumatic for those who have survived torture in their home countries. Another reason cited was the long delay after making an asylum claim before they receive accommodation or support.

      Orsi Hardi, of the Taise Community, which supports and cares for many asylum seekers who congregate in northern France, said many believed reaching the UK was their last chance to find safety after a difficult journey through mainland Europe.

      “The only way to stay in France at the moment is to claim asylum, and the system is overloaded, which makes it very inhuman during the time when people are waiting to get accommodation and support,” she said.

      The Guardian has learned that more people who crossed the Channel in small boats were rounded up by the Home Office on Thursday and Friday and placed in Brook House immigration detention centre near Gatwick airport.

      More than a dozen of them say they have gone on hunger strike. The men, who have come from a variety of conflict zones including Yemen and Sudan, say they would rather die in the UK than be sent back to France or other European countries.

      Speaking from Brook House, one man who is refusing food told the Guardian: “I am a dead person in detention.”

      Nobody who has been arrested and detained in the last few days has been given a ticket for a new removal flight, but the large number of arrests suggest more removals are likely soon. The Home Office is not supposed to detain people unless there is an imminent prospect of removing them.

      One man from Yemen said he had tried to claim asylum in Spain and had been told he would have to wait more than a year sleeping in the streets before his claim could be processed, so he decided to try to reach the UK.

      “My journey was terrible. I crossed many countries – Mauritania, Mali, where traffickers wanted to sell me as a slave, Algeria, Morocco. I crossed the desert. I spent 12 hours in the sea when I crossed the Channel in a small boat in March. I thought I would freeze to death but I was rescued by the Border Force. I’m sending my voice to the public. This is the last opportunity to tell people what has happened to us on our journey and what is happening to us now in detention.”

      Another man from Yemen who said he was on hunger strike in Brook House said he had been abused by smugglers who agreed to help him cross the Channel to the UK. “The smugglers have guns and sometimes they shoot people. The smuggler who was taking us across the Channel pointed a gun at us and said if we made any noise he would shoot us,” he said.

      The Home Office and the French embassy have been approached for comment.

      #police #violences_policières

  • *La Marine teste l’utilisation de NETS pour piéger les migrants dans la Manche alors que des nombres record traversent illégalement*

    - Des navires militaires ont travaillé avec la UK Border Force pour essayer des tactiques en mai et juin
    - Priti Patel a révélé le stratagème en accusant Paris de la crise actuelle
    – Plus de 2 750 personnes auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni outre-Manche cette année

    La #Royal_Navy a testé l’utilisation de filets pour arrêter les migrants dans la Manche, a révélé hier #Priti_Patel.

    Des navires militaires ont travaillé avec la #UK_Border_Force en mai et juin, essayant des #tactiques pour se déployer contre de petits bateaux traversant la France.

    La ministre de l’Intérieur a fait la divulgation alors qu’elle reprochait à Paris de ne pas avoir maîtrisé la crise des migrants.

    Plus de 2 750 clandestins auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni de l’autre côté de la Manche cette année, dont 90 non encore confirmés qui ont atterri à Douvres hier.

    Ce chiffre se compare à seulement 1 850 au cours de l’année dernière. Dimanche, il y a eu un record de 180, entassés à bord de 15 dériveurs.

    Plus de 2 750 clandestins auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni de l’autre côté de la Manche cette année, dont 90 non encore confirmés qui ont atterri à #Douvres hier

    Les #chiffres montent en flèche malgré la promesse de Miss Patel, faite en octobre, qu’elle aurait pratiquement éliminé les passages de la Manche maintenant.

    Hier, elle a déclaré qu’elle s’efforçait de persuader les Français de « montrer leur volonté » et de permettre le retour des arrivées.

    Mlle Patel a affirmé que les #lois_maritimes_internationales autorisaient le Royaume-Uni à empêcher les bateaux de migrants d’atteindre le sol britannique, mais que Paris interprétait les règles différemment.

    « Je pense qu’il pourrait y avoir des mesures d’application plus strictes du côté français », a déclaré hier Mme Patel aux députés.

    « Je cherche à apporter des changements. Nous avons un problème majeur, majeur avec ces petits bateaux. Nous cherchons fondamentalement à changer les modes de travail en France.

    « J’ai eu des discussions très, très – je pense qu’il est juste de dire – difficiles avec mon homologue français, même en ce qui concerne les #interceptions en mer, car actuellement les autorités françaises n’interceptent pas les bateaux.

    « Et j’entends par là même des bateaux qui ne sont qu’à 250 mètres environ des côtes françaises.

    « Une grande partie de cela est régie par le #droit_maritime et les interprétations des autorités françaises de ce qu’elles peuvent et ne peuvent pas faire. »

    Elle a confirmé que les #navires_de_patrouille français n’interviendront pour arrêter les bateaux de migrants que s’ils sont en train de couler – et non pour empêcher les traversées illégales.

    Au sujet de la participation de la Marine, Mlle Patel a déclaré à la commission des affaires intérieures de la Chambre des communes : « Nous avons mené une série d’#exercices_dans_l’eau en mer impliquant une gamme d’#actifs_maritimes, y compris militaires.

    La ministre de l’Intérieur, photographiée hier, a fait la divulgation alors qu’elle reprochait à Paris de ne pas avoir maîtrisé la crise des migrants

    « Nous pouvons renforcer #Border_Force et montrer comment nous pouvons prendre des bateaux en toute sécurité et les renvoyer en France.

    « C’est effectivement le dialogue que nous entamons actuellement avec les Français pour savoir comment ils peuvent travailler avec nous et montrer leur volonté. Parce que cela ne sert à rien de leur pays.

    Tim Loughton, un député conservateur du comité, a demandé au ministre de l’Intérieur : « Pouvez-vous confirmer que vous pensez que les Français ont le pouvoir – qu’ils prétendent ne pas avoir – d’intercepter des bateaux en mer ? »

    Elle a répondu : ‘Absolument raison. Et c’est ce que nous nous efforçons de réaliser jusqu’au partage des #conseils_juridiques en matière de droit maritime. À travers la pandémie où le temps a été favorable, nous avons vu une augmentation des chiffres et nous devons mettre un terme à cette route.

    « Nous voulons rompre cette route, nous voulons rendre cela #non_viable. La seule façon d’y parvenir est d’intercepter et de renvoyer les bateaux en France. »

    Le ministre français de l’Intérieur, Gerald Darmanin, qui a été nommé il y a seulement dix jours, se rendra à Douvres le mois prochain pour voir l’impact des bateaux de migrants sur la communauté locale.

    « Le ministre de l’Intérieur est de plus en plus frustré par la partie française, mais nous avons de nouveaux espoirs que le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur voudra régler ce problème », a déclaré une source de Whitehall.

    Hier, neuf passagers clandestins érythréens ont été découverts à l’arrière d’un camion lors d’un service Welcome Break sur la M40. La police a été appelée après que des témoins ont vu des mouvements à l’arrière du camion stationné dans l’Oxfordshire.

    #frontières #militarisation_des_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #armée #NETS #Manche #La_Manche #France #UK #Angleterre #pull-back #pull-backs

    #via @FilippoFurri

  • Au #Royaume-uni la #COVID-19 est utilisée comme moyen de promouvoir le #secteur_privé de la #santé via la #sous-traitance :

    The Pro-Privatization Shock Therapy of the UK’s Covid Response | by Rachel Shabi | The New York Review of Books

    Boris Johnson won last year’s December election on promises of Brexit, but also state investment and “leveling up” neglected regions of the country. And yet, facing the coronavirus crisis, his party’s instinct was to shore up the private sector: a pandemic version of “disaster capitalism,” to borrow Naomi Klein’s coining from her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine. Britain’s public health sector, a cash-strapped, eroded, but functioning network comprising the National Health Service (NHS), general-practice clinics, and local authority health officials, has been repeatedly sidelined in favor of outsourced alternatives. As Allyson Pollock, a professor of public health at Newcastle University, put it to The New York Times recently: “They’re basically trying to build a centralized, parallel, privatized system.”

    This happened even as scientists and health experts urged government to use the existing, practiced, and more effective public sector. It happened while UK media reports from countries that got a better grip on the coronavirus crisis, from Germany to the Indian state of Kerala, showed the vital part played by public health care. I spoke to Dr. Tony O’Sullivan, the co-chair of the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, who said the pandemic has been exploited as an opportunity “for those who have been trying to return healthcare to the private sector, a long-standing project.” Putting Covid-19 contracts in private hands undermined Britain’s coronavirus response at the beginning of the pandemic and leaves it still lurching today.

    #santé_publique #sans_vergogne

  • Ce jour-là à #Vintimille. Retour d’un lieu d’exil sans cesse confiné

    Chaque nuit, des dizaines de personnes en situation d’exil dorment dans les rues de Vintimille. Laissées à l’abandon par les pouvoirs publics depuis la fermeture du principal camp d’hébergement, elles sont repoussées du centre-ville par les forces de police. De retour de cette frontière, nous publions ce texte de témoignage afin d’alerter sur la mise en danger institutionnelle des personnes en migration.

    Chaque nuit, des dizaines de personnes en situation d’exil dorment dans les rues de Vintimille. Laissées à l’abandon par les pouvoirs publics depuis la fermeture du principal camp d’hébergement, elles sont repoussées du centre-ville par les forces de police alors que la municipalité prépare la reprise des activités touristiques au lendemain du confinement. De retour de cette frontière franco-italienne, nous publions ce texte de témoignage afin d’alerter sur la mise en danger institutionnelle des personnes en migration.

    Depuis la fin du confinement en Italie, on peut estimer que 200 personnes en migration sont quotidiennement livrées à elles-mêmes à Vintimille. La plupart sont originaires d’Afghanistan, d’Iran, du Pakistan, dans une moindre mesure de pays africains. Nous avons également rencontré une famille kurde accompagnant une femme enceinte. "Bonjour, ça va ?". Suivant les mots que nous adressons à leur rencontre, les discussions s’ouvrent sur les projets passés et présents. La principale destination évoquée à cette étape des parcours est la France. Marseille, Porte de la Chapelle... Certains ont passé plusieurs années dans le pays d’où nous venons, avant de se faire renvoyer vers l’Italie. "Ništa !" : au détour d’une conversation en Pachtoune, on reconnait une expression ramenée des routes balkaniques, qui signifie qu’il n’y a rien à trouver ici. "Racist", "police", "violent" sont d’autres mots transparents que nous glanons en parcourant les rues de Vintimille, ce jeudi 11 juin.


    À la veille de la reprise officielle de la saison touristique, plusieurs réalités se superposent. Les arrivées de touristes tant attendues par la municipalité coïncident avec celles de groupes considérés comme irréguliers. Les usagers des terrasses à nouveau animées côtoient les déambulations quotidiennes des personnes exilées pour trouver une stratégie de passage. Les camions de nettoyage sillonnent les rues ; les fourgons des marchands du célèbre marché de Vintimille reprennent place. Cette soudaine effervescence économique est traversée par le ballet des forces de l’ordre : militaires, police municipale, guardia di finanza et carabinieri quadrillent la ville. Nous nous étonnons de voir la police nationale française stationnée devant la gare. La stratégie des autorités italiennes semble moins correspondre à une logique de contrôle de l’immigration qu’à un impératif de tenir à l’écart du centre-ville les migrant-tes indésirables. C’est-à-dire celles et ceux qu’il ne faut pas voir dans ce paysage renaissant de la consommation.

    Ce jour-là, le 12 juin, alors que les interdictions liées aux rassemblements dans les centres commerciaux et lieux de restauration sont progressivement levées, le maire a explicitement interdit aux ONG présentes à la frontière de fournir toute aide matérielle aux personnes exilées.


    Sur cette portion du territoire transalpin, le confinement décidé en mars 2020 a signifié l’arrêt des activités humanitaires, en raison de la fermeture officielle de la frontière et des interdictions de rassemblement en Italie. Les volontaires du collectif Kesha Niya et de Roya Citoyenne ont dû mettre fin aux distributions alimentaires groupées — une activité essentielle pour les personnes exilées en transit dans les rues de Vintimille, assurée quotidiennement depuis trois ans. Alors que de nouvelles arrivées ont été constatées depuis la fin du confinement, les distributions doivent s’effectuer en discrétion.

    Les paquets alimentaires, kits d’hygiène et masques sont fournis aléatoirement, en fonction du nombre de personnes exilées rencontrées au cours des maraudes. Cette situation délétère n’est pas sans rappeler le contexte de l’année 2016, alors qu’un arrêté municipal de la commune de Vintimille interdisait les distributions de repas pour cause de risques sanitaires[I]. Inique autant que cynique, l’argument de la salubrité publique est à nouveau le levier d’une mise en danger des personnes exilées. Bien que l’ONG Médecins du Monde ait constaté en juin des besoins médicaux auprès des personnes en errance dans la ville (tels que des problématiques respiratoires connues pour leur propension à entrainer une forme grave de COVID-19), aucun accès aux soins n’est organisé par les institutions locales ou nationales. Sur la seule après-midi du 18 juin 2020, deux patients ont été admis en hospitalisation d’urgence suite à des signalements de l’ONG (urgence obstétricale et détresse cardiaque).

    Cette nuit-là, le vent est levé. Venus pour assurer une distribution de sacs de couchage et de masques, mis en difficulté dans cet acte simple, nous ressentons l’hypocrisie d’une frontière qui crée ses propres marges. Avec quelques autres volontaires qui tentent d’assurer un relai social et médical, nous devons nous aussi nous cacher, nous rendre invisibles.


    Il y a quelques semaines, le camp de la Croix-Rouge assurait encore la mise à l’abri d’individus sans papiers. Institué comme bras humanitaire de la Préfecture d’Imperia en 2016, cet établissement situé à 4 kilomètres du centre-ville centralisait l’hébergement des personnes en transit, autant que leur contrôle[II]. Depuis la détection d’un cas de coronavirus le 18 avril, le campo a été fermé aux nouvelles arrivées[III]. Seuls les petits-déjeuners et un service de douche délivrés par Caritas sont assurés aux personnes recalées, ainsi qu’une assistance juridique répartie entre plusieurs associations locales[IV].

    Désormais, pour celles et ceux qui arrivent sur ce territoire, les rares lieux de répit se situent à l’abri des regards, dans quelques marges urbaines tolérées. Corollaire du droit à la mobilité, le droit à la ville est mis à mal dans les interstices urbains de Vintimille. Ces rues sont le théâtre d’un nouveau « game », selon le nom donné dans les Balkans aux tentatives répétées de traversée des frontières, suivies de refoulements violents[V].

    À cette étape des parcours, la France demeure le seul horizon envisageable : tous et toutes parviennent finalement à passer, mais au prix d’épuisements multiples et de nouveaux dangers.

    Ce jour-là, sous le pont de Vintimille, une laie ballade ses marcassins à la recherche de nourriture, à proximité immédiate d’un lieu de campement régulièrement sujet aux déguerpissements policiers. Les voyages nous sont contés avec des mots et des blessures, souvent ramenées de la traversée des Balkans. À cette frontière intérieure de l’Europe, aucun moyen médical institutionnel n’est disponible pour les soigner.

    Des corps confinés

    Confiner, c’est aussi étymologiquement toucher une limite. Bloquées à la frontière italo-française, les personnes exilées se heurtent à des confins au cœur de l’espace Schengen dit « de libre circulation ». Seuls les chiffres de l’activité policière communiqués par la Préfecture des Alpes-Maritimes permettent d’évaluer numériquement l’évolution des arrivées ces derniers mois : alors que 107 refus d’entrée[VI] ont été enregistrés côté français entre le 15 mars et le 15 avril, ce sont environ cinquante personnes qui seraient refoulées chaque jour de la France vers l’Italie, depuis la fin du confinement officiel. Toutefois, ces statistiques n’intègrent ni les tentatives de traversées répétées par une même personne, ni les refoulements non enregistrés par la police française, en dépit des lois en vigueur[VII]. C’est pourquoi le regard d’acteurs non étatiques s’avère nécessaire dans cette phase de déconfinement. Salariée humanitaire, universitaire ou volontaire bénévole, notre présence à Vintimille tient à des raisons diverses, mais nos mots dessinent une même idée : « impératif de mise à l’abri », « inégalité des vies »[VIII], « acharnement dissuasif » …

    Ces deux derniers mois ont fourni l’opportunité de comprendre le caractère essentiel du droit à la mobilité — en particulier pour les personnes qui ont pu se confiner dans des conditions dignes et qui retrouvent depuis le mois de mai les délices de la liberté de circulation[IX]. Que reste-t-il de cette expérience collective ?

    La période post-confinement signale plutôt le renforcement des inégalités à la mobilité. Non seulement la « crise sanitaire » n’a pas amené de véritable réflexion sur la précarité des personnes bloquées aux frontières, mais elle a de plus permis la poursuite des activités de contrôle mortifères à l’écart de l’attention médiatique. C’est le cas en Libye et en Méditerranée[X], mais aussi au cœur de l’Union européenne, à cette frontière franco-italienne.

    Ce jour-là, le train de voyageurs internationaux Vintimille-Cannes fait à nouveau vibrer les rails, à côté du campement improvisé pour la nuit par les exilé-e-s. Le lendemain, nous rejoindrons le bivouac de notre choix sans le moindre contrôle, reconnus à nouveau aptes à circuler, contrairement à ces corps confinés.

    #campement #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Italie #France #frontière_sud-alpine #SDF #sans-abrisme #in/visibilité #invisibilisation #écart #solidarité #Kesha_Niya #Roya_Citoyenne #distributions_alimentaires #salubrité_publique #accès_aux_soins #hypocrisie #Croix-Rouge #camp #campement #mise_à_l'abri #hébergement #campo #marges #droit_à_l'abri #interstices_urbains #game #the_game #épuisement #droit_à_la_mobilité #libre_circulation #liberté_de_mouvement #liberté_de_circulation #post-covid-19 #post-confinement

  • ‘I’ve not been to the city centre for months’: UK suburbs thrive as office staff stay home | World news | The Guardian

    It’s not yet lunchtime but the queue outside Joe’s Bakery on Gloucester Road in Bristol’s northern suburbs is already growing. Five shoppers clutching canvas tote bags and rucksacks wait patiently in the sunshine on taped lines for their turn to buy vast crusty sourdough and dark rye breads or white sandwich loaves.

    “I can’t remember when I was last in the city centre,” says accountant Tom Adams, 30, queuing up for some croissants. “There’s nothing there for me, to be honest. You can get all the produce you need here.”

    #coronavirus #urban_matter #royaume_uni

  • The low-paid need Britain to reopen. But this outbreak isn’t over | Business | The Guardian

    According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as many as 80% of the bottom tenth of earners in Britain are either unable to work from home or are in sectors that have been closed. This compares with about 25% of workers in the top-paid tenth.

    The continuation of tough controls risks the emergence of a two-tier society, split between those able to work from home, and those for whom work vanishes entirely.

    Resuming economic activity across the country will inevitably bring people into closer contact as businesses reopen and social life gradually resumes, increasing the risks of a second wave of infections later this summer. Such an outcome would require renewed lockdown controls later this year, inflicting further pain on companies and workers.

    For this reason, many restrictions will remain in place. But there are glaring inconsistencies in the government’s approach. People will be able to down a pint at the pub but remain barred from gyms. Teenagers can head to the shops with their friends but their schools remain closed.

    The mixed messages create confusion and erode trust in a government that has already depleted much of its political capital thanks to its late, chaotic, and costly approach to entering lockdown, as well as its double standards over the lockdown behaviour of No 10’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.

    #confinement #Royaume_Uni

    • Déconfinement à deux vitesses encore : ceux qui s’en branlent (comme les politiciens aux soirées électorales) et ceux qui angoissent d’autant plus et restent d’autant plus confiné·es. J’ai des ami·es qui ont du mal, après l’alarmisme du confinement, à se dire que tout va bien, il faut aller travailler-consommer.

      Coronavirus hasn’t gone away. So why are people acting as if it has ? | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett | Opinion | The Guardian

      The people a few houses down have been having parties in their garden. Meanwhile my dad, in north-west Wales, remains in almost total lockdown. There are the geographical discrepancies, but the other disconnect is psychological. People no longer bother with the 2-metre distance rule. Many aren’t wearing masks in shops. People no longer politely step aside to give one another space on park paths.

      There were always people who didn’t observe lockdown, whose way of coping seemed to be denial, or whose perception of risk was different to my own. The strange, Crucible-esque shaming streak that hit the country at one stage seems to have dissipated, thankfully. I made the decision early on not to get het up about other people breaking the rules. Better, I thought, to be able to look back on this, maybe in a few decades’ time, and be able to say that I did my best to protect other people. Better to just privately lose respect for someone, rather than to get on your high horse about it, or try to humiliate them. And anyway, Dominic Cummings put paid to all that. He’s part of the reason why the lockdown has unravelled so dramatically.

      What we are left with are people living in two parallel universes. In one, there are people who – knowing that the virus has not gone away – feel gaslit by the fact that things are opening up when there is absolutely no scientific reason for that to be happening.

      Because of this, it feels almost as though we are going mad.

  • Jeremy Corbyn interview: Full transcript | Middle East Eye

    Published date: 3 June, b David Hearst and Peter Oborne
    in London - The Labour Party’s former leader on the antisemitism claims, Palestine, Israel, Brexit, coronavirus, the tabloid media, UK foreign policy and his allotment

    Editor’s note: David Hearst, editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye, and contributor Peter Oborne sat down with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in late May 2020. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

    David Hearst: Hello, my name is David Hearst, I’m editor of Middle East Eye, with me is Peter Oborne. We are here to interview the Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour Party, about what was a tumultuous, but important, leadership of his party.

    Mr Corbyn, you have now had time to reflect on what happened during your period as leader. What would you say are the achievements of your time in office?

    Jeremy Corbyn: More than trebling Labour Party membership. Changing the political debate on austerity into one of an investment-led economy and changing the political debate on the treatment of the poorest and most vulnerable people within our society. The way in which the government eventually responded to the corona crisis indicates that everything I was saying in the general election in November and December about investment in housing, health, education and support for manufacturing industry jobs has now come full circle.

    And it’s a Tory government that has, in many ways - not perhaps in the way I would have totally wanted - but in many ways, the principle of public spending in order to protect people in a crisis is now accepted as a political norm, it hasn’t been, ever since the austerity budget of 2010 that [then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George] Osborne brought in. So, I’m proud of that.

    I’m also proud of the way in which we developed the idea of a national education service, developed the idea of a green industrial revolution, and perhaps not as developed as I would have wanted, but we did go in the direction of a human rights-, peace- and democracy-based foreign policy, including the proposal of a war powers act and a re-examination of our role in the world. And so, I’m proud of a lot of what we achieved and in those areas, obviously very, very sad at the election result. In a sense, Brexit was a bridge that was too big for the Labour Party to traverse between strongly Remain areas, that were very strong for Labour, such as in London and my own constituency, for example; and equally strong for Labour areas in the north-east, south Yorkshire and the north-west that were strongly for Leave. I tried to bridge that gap with the proposal that we should do a trade deal with the European Union and put that alongside Remain as a choice for the people. And that was a decision taken at last year’s Labour Party conference, and so it turned out not to be possible.

    So obviously, I’m very, very sad at that, but I remain determined that, personally, I will spend the rest of my life as I spent my life up to now: campaigning on the issues that I strongly believe in and representing people who are going through such terrible times in Covid. I’ll just say this about Covid - because it does dominate everything - it’s exposed the health inequalities around the world. It’s exposed the interdependence of countries around the world and it’s exposed the risk to even healthy people in healthy countries of a pandemic like this. It’s also exposed the inequalities in our own society.

    Where we’re sitting now, it’s in my office, in my constituency. Three minutes’ walk from here, there are several large housing estates. Those people going through lockdown, small flat, three or four children, no balcony, no play space, very hard for them to stay in lockdown. A more affluent middle-class family in a nice house in the suburbs, garden, work at home, it’s not that difficult. And these are the people that are suffering through this, and it’s the black and minority ethnic communities and the oldest, poorest and most vulnerable people that are dying because of Covid. It’s exposed the fissures in our society. We’ve got to heal them.

    DH: Do you think that shift you’re describing leftwards, ie you claim to have shifted the agenda leftwards, is a permanent shift or a temporary one under Boris Johnson?

    JC: I think it’s a permanent shift because when people go out every Thursday night to applaud the NHS, it’s very interesting. The whole country does it, everybody, and they recognise we need our National Health Service. Now, there might be arguments about how it’s run and so on, and so on. Fine. But the principle of healthcare free at the point of need is one that is now universally accepted in the whole of society. And those people are going out applauding the NHS are now demanding PPE, are now demanding decent pay. And they’re no longer tolerating horrible language like “unskilled migrant workers”, who are care workers and cleaners. They suddenly realise if you didn’t have a good cleaner in a hospital, you’re going to get disease. They are skilled workers as well.

    Peter Oborne: I think I could add more to your list of achievements, for instance you were ridiculed about universal broadband, that was your call and now the government’s going to do that. You can argue, very convincingly, that you won the argument in the election and it wasn’t just before coronavirus. Already, that first Rishi Sunak budget [on 11 March ] incorporated an awful lot of your fiscal arguments and indeed, you know the Johnson government now is absurdly reckless compared to what you were proposing. But, there is this but... you know, the election result and those red wall seats, you know, the former mining communities...

    JC: Obviously, devastated by the result. In fact, the number of people [who] actually switched from Labour to Conservative was quite small, about 300,000 I believe. You can argue about the figures, but it wasn’t huge. The election resulted, as we all know, in a relatively close result, and it was a two-party race almost back to the 1950s map of Britain when, well, 89, 90 percent –

    PO: - 95 percent –

    JC: - 95 percent of the population voted either Labour or Conservative, it was back to that. This time, there was some growth in the Liberal Democrat [vote], but also the Brexit Party and its shenanigans of dropping candidates, putting candidates up in various place and so on obviously had a... was... it was a factor in all of this. The Brexit Party was always really a tool of the Tories anyway, in some form or another, in my view.

    PO: But you didn’t answer the question. Sorry [phone ringing interruption]. I mean, but you didn’t answer the question. How do you explain the fact that these absolute core Labour seats, ex-mining seats in many cases, switch from your Labour Party to the Johnson Tory Party?

    JC: The results we got there were bad in 2019, but in some of the constituencies, they were not great in 2017. We did very well in big, urban areas in 2017, but we didn’t do so well in some of those older industrial, white, working-class areas except where there had been a complete change in the structure of the local community.

    The sense of disillusionment in those areas with [the] modern economy is huge, and they’ve also had a steady diet for five years of unbelievable attacks on the Labour Party, on me personally and it had an effect. There’s no question about that, it has an effect, if you’re told, day after day in your daily newspaper, that the leader of the Labour Party is an evil person. Something gets through.

    PO: It’s more than just the press, isn’t it? I mean in those areas, they were Leave areas, they obviously felt that your message was not really –

    JC: Yeah. They were not in favour of the offer we’d put forward of a referendum between an agreement with the EU and Remain. I was faced with a problem after 2016 from the referendum then, that the vast majority of Labour members, Labour Party members, were for Remain. The majority supported a concept of a second referendum, which was a huge issue, as you know, up until... well, for a long way through all this it’s been a huge issue. And a majority of Labour voters were in favour of Remain, but a substantial minority, probably 40 percent, 35, 40 percent, something like that, were... were for Leave. And the Labour Party Conference of last year had this very difficult chasm it had to cross. And they came to a compromise that was agreed by, put forward by all of the unions, both those very strongly Remain unions like TSSA Unison and those very strongly Leave unions like ASLEF and Bakers [Food and Allied Workers’] Union. And the bigger unions were reflective of their membership on this. And so, it was a compromise that, clearly didn’t find favour with Labour voters in those areas. But had we gone in any other direction, I’m quite clear we would have lost support in London and the south-east. And there are, what, nearly 57... I think it is... Labour MPs in London, for example.

    DH: So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t -

    JC: Whatever we’d done was going to be difficult, and in the election campaign I was trying to point out that if we reached an agreement with the EU on trade, it would be about protection of workers’ rights, environmental standards, consumer rights, and it would not be a bargain basement economy to please Donald Trump, which I suspect is what Boris Johnson was then trying to do. What he’ll try and do now? I’m not entirely sure.

    Fundamentally, whether we’re in or out of the European Union, a Labour government led by us would be one that would want high-quality jobs and an investment-led economy, hence the National Investment Bank, hence the infrastructure investment, hence the green industrial evolution, hence the broadband offer that we made during the election campaign. And I tried to get that message across.

    DH: Did you personally get Brexit wrong, in the sense that there’s this persistent claim that you didn’t campaign hard enough? That yes, in the referendum, it was a bit wishy-washy, that you pleased virtually no one? Looking back on your time, are there honestly points at which you would say: “Actually, I should have done something else?”

    JC: Well, in the referendum in 2016, the Labour policy was for Remain and reform of the EU because the EU, yes, it has quite good basic environmental standards, it has quite good intentions on workers’ rights, they’re not as strong as they ought to be, but it also has a bit of a penchant for neoliberal economics. Look at the way it treated Greece, look at the lectures that they’re given to southern European countries during the financial crisis. And my view was that if we remained in the European Union, ours would be a voice for interventionist economics, would be for full employment, would be for minimum welfare standards and a European-wide minimum employment standards, because at the moment there are very low wages paid in eastern Europe and that means that people leave eastern Europe to work somewhere else and send the money home. And the issues of inequality and the treatment of those migrant workers when they come to western Europe is disgraceful. So mine would have been a voice that would have been very, very different.

    So, in the referendum campaign I was trying to articulate why I thought we should remain and reform the European Union, I was not going to go down the road of the Better Together campaign, which was so disastrous for Labour during the [2014] Scottish referendum. But the media during the referendum campaign were quite interesting, because from their point of view, the only show in town was the blue-on-blue war. So, the stories, day in, day out, were between [then-prime minister David] Cameron and Boris Johnson, basically, who were obviously on opposite sides on the EU referendum issue.

    Did I campaign hard enough? I did more visits, more, more miles, more meetings, more rallies than the rest of the shadow cabinet put together. I spoke at rallies on Perranporth beach in Cornwall, and I spoke to fishermen in Aberdeen. I travelled the length and breadth of the country on it. And so, did I not do enough? I think that is, frankly, a bit unfair. Nobody said that during the campaign. They only sort of concocted the story afterwards.

    PO: George Osborne I think was the first to blame –

    JC: And how much did he do during the campaign? [Laughs] He was probably busy applying for his seven jobs then.

    PO: Following up, I mean, given what you’re saying about a more human, more worker-friendly Europe, do you now feel that you should have backed Mrs May’s deal? Because it was open to you at any moment, to throw the weight of the Labour Party behind Mrs May’s deal, which would have been a much softer Brexit, potentially even continued membership of the single market, conceivably the customs union. Did you ever feel that in retrospect, that was a mistake?

    JC: We did go into negotiations with her. We were serious about it and we went on for six, seven, weeks and, we had teams of people involved dealing with the environmental aspects, dealing with the workers’ rights aspects and dealing with future trade arrangements. We made quite a lot of progress on the workers’ rights side of things. Becky led on that part, [shadow secretary of state for business] Becky Long-Bailey. We didn’t make as much progress as I wanted on environmental standards and protection of those, and it seemed to me that that was the area that we could not reach agreement on. And so, there were, obviously, a lot of discussions and I deliberately made sure the teams doing the negotiating were balanced between the individual views of people that were known to be Remain and known to be Leave in the talks that went on. Eventually, the shadow cabinet concluded the talks had reached their natural conclusion. So, we then left them at that point.

    Could we have done a deal? I’m not sure that deal would have stuck within the parliamentary Labour Party anyway if we had done a deal. The parliamentary Labour Party, as you know, was divided on the subject and indeed, the deal that finally went through - the Johnson proposal, the one bill that Johnson put up - went through with Labour support, not mine, but with a minority of Labour MPs, voted for it from strongly Leave areas, thinking it would save their seats.

    PO: But the thing is, now we’ve got what looks like the ultimate hard Brexit, no deal Brexit, from [the] Johnson government. A year ago, just over a year ago, there was a real, there was on the table a soft Brexit from Mrs May’s government, which you could have led Labour towards.

    JC: Well, Labour as a whole were not going to buy into that and one of the litmus tests of this was the referendum issue. There was never a parliamentary majority for a second referendum. The closest it came was a minority of 30 I think, or some, something around there, and there was never a parliamentary majority for that.

    And, looking back on it, could things have been done differently? Well, obviously, things can always be done differently. Would the result have been any different? I’m not really sure. I think the problem was that many parts of this country have seen no investment for a very long time. They’ve seen deindustrialisation that started in the 1980s, have never seen the replacement of cherished and now lost industries with good quality jobs. And you have communities where there’s very low levels of union membership, there’s very high levels of insecure work and very high levels of institutional poverty within those areas. And our economic success in the past has actually been predicated on cheap Chinese imports as much as anything else. And so, the economic system that developed in this country during the 90s and early 2000s was actually [based on the] ever-reducing price of Chinese imports, a deindustrialisation at the same time, the replacement of manufacturing jobs by service industry jobs.

    And we therefore have a fundamental economic weakness in Britain, which is not the same particularly in Germany, because you have essentially a kind of agreement across the political spectrum in Germany that it is the job and duty of government to be involved in industry and major investment decisions. [Also] to a slightly lesser extent in France. And so, we have a structural problem which has to be addressed, which is why [then shadow chancellor] John McDonnell, Becky and myself made a great deal about investment in a green industrial future for this country, were very serious about that.

    DH: You were savagely attacked as leader... a lot of the attacks were against you personally. You were called a racist, you were called someone who tolerated antisemitism, you were attacked by the former generals for being a danger to the security of the state. Were you prepared for that? You were also undermined by your own party, not least [by] your deputy leader.

    Were you prepared when you entered this job for that level of personal hostility, aimed at you? It’s an irony that, in fact, a lot of the attacks were personal, and they weren’t policy based, in fact what you were saying received actually a good press, and what John McDonnell said received a good press. It was you personally that they were going for. Were you prepared for that?

    JC: No, you know, you can’t be prepared for it. I mean, obviously, in a whole lifetime of political activity, I’ve had lots of issues where, I think, the media have been very unfair to me. And there was a process of personal abuse against me, against my wife, against my sons, family and so on. And the obsessive nature of the British media, it was quite extraordinary. But also, the way in which stories would suddenly take hold.

    There was a time last year when apparently a group of civil servants said that I was unfit, that I was not capable of concentrating on anything, and that I wasn’t medically or physically capable of doing the job. So, I asked for a Cabinet Office inquiry into which civil servants had said this. And I was told in terms that “no stone would be left unturned” in sorting out who had actually made these foul allegations against me. Apparently, there are still a lot of stones that need to be turned: nobody has been identified as making these remarks.

    DH: How did you react to this between the four walls of your family? Were you tearing your hair out? Were you calm?

    JC: No, you know, I’m very calm. I’m a very calm person, which actually makes my family very annoyed. Sometimes –

    PO: Let me read out –

    JC: Sometimes they wish I was a bit more like... one other point just to make about media is, at some level, it’s kind of laughable, that the various papers, Mail, Express, Telegraph particularly, were kind of obsessed with me and my family. The Express dug up somebody who was apparently a great, great, great, great uncle removed, who I’d never heard of, who apparently ran a workhouse in 1830. Oh, I’d never heard of this guy, nobody in my family ever heard of this guy, where did that come from?

    And then, another paper sent a whole team of people tramping all over Mexico looking for Laura’s family [Laura Alvarez, Corbyn’s wife], people she used to work with and so on and so on, to ask what they thought of me. I mean, some of these people had never heard of me. I mean: “Huh? Huh? What are you on about?” And it was this sort of obsessive stuff, which was kind of at one level laughable, but all designed to be undermining. So, it meant every day, when I would want us to be pursuing a political agenda on homelessness, on poverty in Britain, on housing, on international issues, what was our media team doing? Rebutting these crazy stories, abusive stories, about me the whole time.

    And it was... um... is it unpleasant? Yes, it is unpleasant, yes. Do you feel that you’re under a constant microscope? Yes, you do. I mean, when you’ve got photographers that hide behind trees in a park while I’m using an open-air gym. I was in Finsbury Park one day at the open-air gym and there was apparently a photographer, I suspect from the Daily Mail, hiding behind a tree. And these young men going by said: “Oh yeah Jezza, there’s some guy over there I think he’s really dangerous. Do you want us to sort him out?” So, I said: “No, no. Leave him alone. Just tell him to go away.” Well, this is bad. This isn’t politics. This is an obsession with destroying an individual. Well, you know what? It didn’t work.

    PO: I had a look at some of your newspaper headlines before coming here –

    JC: God, you must have got up early -

    PO: “Jezza’s Jihadi Comrades.” "Blood on his hands." “Corbyn and the Commie Spy.” "Corbyn’s ISIS Past Revealed." “Corbyn Not Upset Enough Over Paris Terror Attacks.” "Jezza’s Jihadi Comrades, Apologists for Terror." And, I think, when you finally came to election day, “Waking Up to Corbyn as PM on Friday 13th Will Be The Start of a Nightmare.” When you get those day after day, how do you deal with it?

    JC: Well I read The Daily Mail for election day after the election, because I got a copy that day and I read it a week later. I read it from cover to cover on a Sunday afternoon, a wet Sunday afternoon, when I was tidying up my study and at the end of it I put the paper down. “Wow. This Corbyn guy, God he’s evil. I wouldn’t want to live in the same street as him.” And it was just crazy.

    PO: I’ve got the Daily Mail. [holding up newspaper]

    JC: Oh, you’ve got it there. Is that the election day one? Or is it a Brexit one? Oh, yeah. But the Czech spy stuff was extraordinary. That this claim, somehow or other I was involved with Czech spies and was spying for the Czech Republic, and indeed somebody libelled me on this and it cost him a lot of money, which was all given to an appropriate charity. And I remember meeting this guy from the Czech embassy in the Pugin Room, which is the very nice tea room between the Lords and the Commons. And we had tea, which I paid for, lemon tea, and I believe there was a cake involved, or a biscuit, it was very excessive - two biscuits, possibly. And this guy is [a] completely inconsequential conversation. I was utterly bored by it. I saw another Labour MP wandering down the corridor who didn’t seem terribly busy, so I shamelessly went up to him and asked him if he’d like to meet some interesting people from the Czech Republic. And he came and joined us and then I disappeared. And I put in my diary that night: “I met two people from the Czech embassy. God, they were boring. I have no idea why they came.”

    PO: Do you have a, do you keep a diary?

    JC: No, not always. I did at that time.

    PO: You do have one?

    JC: No, no, no, not all the time. I do write notes from time to time, and I’ve also got probably three or four hundred notebooks. I kept notebooks all my life when I was a union organiser, and before that when I was travelling around Latin America, when I worked in various jobs. And they’ve become an almost, a social history. So, I’ve got notebooks of my work as a union organiser, which have things like the issue of the safety in a particular school kitchen, because I used to represent some school meals workers in schools around here, alongside a meeting I would have spoken at that night as a councillor in Haringey.

    So, you’ve got these sorts of notes of all aspects of my life, which are almost like a diary. And I’ve got hundreds of these notebooks that take up a great deal of space. They should be scanned, I’m sure.

    PO: Perhaps you will one day.

    JC: There’s always one day for that. Yes.

    PO: But what David Hearst was referring to earlier... you have, on the one hand, a very, very concentrated, calculated press campaign, day after day. The same point, which is more concerning in many ways, were these briefings from inside the military, that you are a “danger to security”. And as somebody brought up with the idea of the British system being that anybody can govern so long as they’re elected, and it’s the job of the military, the civil service, to work with them, to get briefings from inside the armed security services and the armed forces were appearing, I think, mainly in The Daily Telegraph and elsewhere. What is your view of that?

    JC: Well, the briefings were designed to undermine, and designed to disagree with my world view. My world view is of the fundamental problems facing this planet are the environmental crisis, are the levels of inequality across the planet. And that... the way in which Britain went into wars in Afghanistan, and particularly Iraq, have very serious long-term consequences, and at the risk of quoting myself, if you forgive me, when I spoke at the huge rally in Hyde Park on February 15th 2003, I said: ‘This war, if it goes ahead in Iraq, will lead to the refugee flows of tomorrow, the terrorism of tomorrow, and the wars of tomorrow, and the misery of tomorrow all across the region." You look at the refugee camps in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Turkey, in Greece. All of those are a consequence of both the Afghan War and of the Iraq War. And so, I don’t want to—

    PO: You haven’t mentioned the Libyan intervention where you were one of 12 MPs in the House of Commons who voted against. And that, of course, has led to the catastrophic refugee flows, return of slavery. I mean it’s been -

    JC: And we were accused of being stooges of Colonel Gaddafi. I never met Colonel Gaddafi. I’d never been to Libya, despite invitations from his government to go. But I said I was not prepared to visit Libya as a guest of the government, I would visit Libya independently if I could have independent access to any group I wanted to, that’s my basis of when I go anywhere. And so, I never went there. But so far as I was concerned, there could and should have been agreements reached with Gaddafi - and indeed, [former prime minister Tony] Blair reached some levels of agreement with Gaddafi.

    We then got into the idea that, somehow or other, [that] bombing Libya would bring about a peace and security. What it’s done is unleash proxy wars in Libya now, with Turkey supporting the recognised government or recognised by some people, other Middle Eastern states supporting those that are opposed to that particular government. We’ve got a ghastly civil war going on in there, compounded by the numbers of very desperate people that have ended up in Libya, who’ve come from Senegal, who’ve come from other parts of west Africa, where they’re living in terrible poverty, Burkina Faso and so on. And you’ve got really there a microcosm of all of the world’s problems and the deaths of thousands over the past decade, trying to cross the Mediterranean to get to a relative place of safety at Lampedusa or somewhere else in Europe. And so, my view was the bombing of Libya would actually make the situation worse. Where was I wrong? I was pilloried at the time.

    DH: Were you a tough enough leader –

    JC: [clearing throat] Sorry.

    DH: Were you a tough enough leader? Did you have enough teeth as a leader? Did you tolerate attacks? For instance, [Labour politician] Margaret Hodge called you a racist to your face inside the House of Commons, she repeated that in the Guardian the next day. Shouldn’t you have sued? Shouldn’t you have defended yourself and said: “No, I’m not a racist, prove it”?

    JC: Well, I do defend myself by pointing out my record on opposing racism in any form whatsoever in society, and I have done all of my life. Was I too tolerant of people? Well that’s an interesting question. My style of leadership is very different to others. I didn’t want to be a dictator, I wanted to be a leader that built by consensus. And-

    DH: But there was no consensus in the Labour Party. Half of them were desperately trying to get you out.

    JC: Well, the coup that took place in 2016 was a dramatic time. The referendum result was what we all know. And a few days later, I dismissed Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary because he had written an article in the Observer attacking me, which was published, of course, and others then resigned. And there was then a meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party, which passed a motion of no confidence in me. I pointed out that I’d been elected by the party membership, not by the parliamentary Labour Party, and that as leader, I would seek support from the party members. A challenge was mounted, as you know, and I was re-elected with a larger majority in 2016. Three hundred thousand people voted for me to remain as party leader, despite all the attacks of that year - well it was less than a year since I’d been first elected.

    The problem is the parliamentary Labour Party is obviously of finite size, you can only be a member if you’ve been elected to parliament, and I had to work with the parliamentary Labour Party that was there in order to fulfil the various appointments and positions. And I did appoint a balanced shadow cabinet and then, after the 2017 election, I changed the shadow cabinet quite a lot and brought in a lot of new people, new faces and it worked together actually quite well, despite all the endless debate we had over Brexit, we probably had [as] many debates over Brexit as the cabinet itself had.

    It’s a style of leadership issue. I think leaders who dictate tend to isolate themselves and therefore everything falls upon them and it doesn’t motivate others to be involved. And so, what I wanted to do was create a more democratic atmosphere within the Labour Party and the Labour movement as a whole.

    Could things have been done differently? Obviously, you can do things differently. That was my way of doing things. That was my whole lifestyle of doing things. But, do I have strong principles that I won’t deviate from? Yeah, I do. Of course, I do. I believe in social justice. I believe in environmental sustainability. I believe in trying to bring about a world of peace. I do believe that the poverty and insecurity in this country and across the world is actually a danger to everybody. Corona crisis has proved that to be the case.

    PO: Do you feel though, that you, again in retrospect, [when] these very serious and strongly put allegations were made against you, that if you’d sued and taken them on, dealt, confronted them at that point, it might have been more cathartic in the end? You might have dealt with the allegations?

    JC: There’s always a temptation to go to court on cases when nasty things are said about you. And it is very tempting. You think, wow, that is just so wrong, so nasty, so dishonest. I’ll sue them for libel. Tony Benn once said to me, he said: “Jeremy, libel is a rich man’s game, and you’re not a rich man.” He said: “You can’t afford it. Go to, go to a libel case - even if you win the case, you’ll be destroyed financially in doing so.” And we do have an issue surrounding media and media balance in this country. And I was trying to bring forward proposals on media ownership, on access to media and I gave a MacTaggart lecture on this in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Festival in 2018, which was about proposals for future media ownership, which I think are important. And I do think we have to look at this whole question, media control. Obviously, things could have been done differently. There could have been a different style and way of doing things, but that was my way and that was my style.

    DH: The internal Labour Party report, which has been leaked, contains a great deal of evidence that there were elements inside the machinery of the party that were actively working against you, particularly before the very good result you had in 2017. Do you have anything to say about that?

    JC: I won’t comment on the leaked report itself because that will be subject to inquiry and so on, but what I would say is that when I was nominated to be leader of the party in 2015, it was a very difficult process to get on the ballot paper. But I made it easily, with 90 seconds to spare when the last nomination was made. And so, I was a candidate and at that point the bookmakers gave me a 200-1 chance of winning. I wished I put money on it. I’m not, I’m not a betting man, but y’know, anyway.

    I always knew that there was a culture in the Labour Party that was not a healthy one, of an almost self-perpetuating bureaucracy. All organisations have a degree of self-perpetuating bureaucracy about them. And I wanted to change the way in which the party operated by changing from being a solely bureaucratic machine that administered the party, disciplined members and observed the rules and so on, into a community-organising base of the party. And when I was first elected, I met the executive board of the party and the General Secretary at the time, Iain McNicol, and so on. And I said: “I’m not here to start a war with you, I’m not here to get rid of you all, what I want to do is develop the party in this kind of direction”. And we had the utmost resistance to bring in community organising, which is where Iain McNicol and I finally parted company. And in the 2017 campaign, there were people saying this has got to be a defensive campaign, there’s no way we can win it, there’s no way, we’re too far behind and so on. And I said: “Look, it’s a long campaign. We can go out there. We can mobilise a bigger electorate. We can mobilise people who will see hope in what we’re doing.” And then Andrew Fisher was the main author of For the Many, Not the Few and that was an absolute gamechanger.

    I realised when we launched that manifesto, we had a real chance of winning. We did it at Bradford University. I was standing there in the atrium of the university where we launched it and all above there were various galleries in the building, all of which had glass screens in front of them. And it was like that last scene out of The Graduate when Dustin Hoffman is waving through the glass in the church. And I looked up there and every single gallery had students listening to what we were saying, listening to what we were saying. Listening to what we were saying. And it was clear to me that the leaked manifesto - I was really angry about it being leaked, it was absolutely not me that leaked it - had actually a much better reaction than we expected and the support for that manifesto was huge. The party bureaucracy was so leaden-footed it couldn’t appreciate what was actually happening on the ground. That’s why every time I got back to London –

    DH: Was it leaden-footed or was it hostile?

    JC: Well, interesting question. I took it. [This refers back to] your earlier question about my innate generosity. I said: “Look, think of what’s going on out there. There are a lot of people getting involved in politics for the first time. There’s more people involved in our campaign than ever been involved before. There are people just forming their own campaigns to support Labour candidates. Think about it. This is the great moment.” And when Theresa May said something like Corbyn’s afraid to go to the north-east as she addressed a rally of 20 people at a golf club, we then organised a rally, which we were going to do anyway, outside The Sage in Gateshead. We had 10,000 people there at two days’ notice. That was a sign of what was happening.

    And I obviously deeply regret the result of 2017 because we came so, so close. Maybe we weren’t going to get an overall majority - that, that would have been a huge, a huge jump - but I thought we were in a position where we would have formed a minority government. And I made the point all along, we would not form a coalition with the SNP or with anybody else. We would form a minority government and take our chance.

    PO: I must say, I mean, the internal Labour report - this is one official quoted in it: “As the exit polls predicted a hung parliament, we are silent and grave faced opposite to what I have been working towards for the last couple of years.” It must be pretty gut-wrenching for you to read stuff like that.

    JC: Yeah, of course. Because I didn’t spend much time in the party head office in 2017. It’s not my job to be there all the time. I was out on the road. And indeed, the manifesto was signed off by a combination of emails and text messages on trains, with me around the country during the whole campaign and my job was to be out and about. And I did 100 events all over the country during that period. There were others on my behalf, having these arguments about what were the priorities and there was still this argument, “we’ve got to be defensive” and I said, no, go out there, go to all the constituencies where we’ve got the outside chance of winning and go for it, and look at look at the places we gained.

    PO: A few years ago now, I had a conversation with somebody who’d been inside Conservative Central Office. He said something really interesting, which was when they saw you go out after the terrible tragedy of the Manchester bombing [in May 2017] and you went and said something along the lines of “British foreign policy carries its share of responsibility for this”, he said in Central Office, they watched this, and they said: “We’ve won the election.” And they realised two days later from the polls that no, what you’d said had really resonated. Is that the sense you saw?

    JC: That was the toughest decision we had to take during that campaign. The Manchester bomb was appalling and abominable in every way, obviously, and I remember I was in Doncaster when it happened, we were on our way from Hull to Doncaster and we then stayed overnight there. And the prime minister called me at about one o’clock in the morning and we discussed what had happened. Then I went to Manchester the next day to join in the silence and commemoration outside the town hall. And then the campaigning was suspended for a few days and we then discussed it all. And I was of the view that we had to have a considered response to this which said, there is an element, an element, of British foreign policy that is causing this in Britain.

    I decided I would make this speech and we made it on the following Friday morning, I think it was at the Mechanics Institute in London, and I was very strongly advised by a lot of people, don’t do it, don’t do it, no, this is wrong. This will actually play against us. And I said: “No, it’s the honest response to give. It’s a serious response. It’s not condoning in any way whatsoever, what happened was abominable and appalling.”

    And so, I made the speech in the morning and waited for the reaction. And a few hours later, I didn’t know they were doing it, YouGov did a telephone poll, which came out with 60 percent saying Corbyn’s on the right lines here. I stand by every word I made in that speech and... I think it was the right thing to do because it also helped to frame a debate about the kind of foreign policy we had. And I did then - I’m not sure the sequence of events - but I also did during that campaign a quite long event at Chatham House in which we had a discussion about world affairs, about refugees, inequality, and poverty and so on, and the need to have the basis of our foreign policy being respect for human rights in every country in the world.

    I’ve always sought in all my meetings with any leaders, to raise issues of human rights. So, when I met President Xi, I raised issues of human rights in China. We got into a very long discussion about collective versus individual human rights because the Universal Declaration in 1948 actually recognises both. As far as he was concerned, it was all about collective rights and housing, and education and health and so on, and not about individual rights. I had a meeting with Prime Minister Modi and raised a number of issues about human rights in India, in which I can’t pretend we reached agreement, but it was an interesting discussion.

    I also met President Obama for a quite long meeting, I had an hour with President Obama. And while he was still president at the time, he was on a state visit to Britain, and it was a very interesting discussion and, about what his view was and his concerns about the powers of global corporations over national government. And I sort of complimented him on Obamacare and he looked at me and he said: “That’s very generous and very kind of you, but I think it’s my greatest failure because I wanted a real health service, - like you’ve got.” So, whoever I meet, whoever they are, I raise these issues, however uncomfortable it is, because if you don’t raise it when you’ve got the chance, what’s the point?

    DH: You’re a lifelong anti-racist campaigner. And yet you never shrug off the repeated claims that you tolerated antisemitism in the Labour Party, that antisemitism was a problem in the Labour Party and, you apologised. Did you, do you regret not fighting that smear more stringently? And do you accept that you were targeted, principally, not because of an inherent problem in the Labour Party or that you consorted in any way with antisemites, but because you were a lifelong supporter of the Palestinian cause?

    JC: Look, let’s unpick that. Antisemitism is an evil and is wrong. Jewish people have suffered antisemitism from the 13th century or before. You look at the books, the legend of the Wandering Jew, the way in which Jewish people were expelled from Britain in the 13th century and came back under [Oliver] Cromwell, but nevertheless were still discriminated against. Antisemitism is rife and has been historically in Europe and indeed around the world.

    It is evil. It is wrong. The Nazis exploited antisemitism for their advantage, decided that all the problems of the Weimar Republic were nothing to do with the chaos of the Weimar Republic, or the results of the conference at the end of the First World War, the Versailles Conference, but instead, all the problems, all the fault of the Jews. They started by opposing Jewish people, they then moved on to beating up Jewish businesses, they moved on to killing people, and that ended up with the extermination camps at Dachau and Bergen-Belsen and all the others. It is an absolutely appalling history of where racism and antisemitism lead to. I grew up in a family that were obviously opposed to racism in any form. My mum was there at Cable Street in 1936. That’s the sort of background I come from.

    When I became leader of the Labour Party, I discovered that there were a small number of cases where people had been accused of antisemitic work, remarks within the party and there should be a process for dealing with them. I asked for what the process was, and I was not very satisfied. I didn’t feel we had a very strong or robust process for dealing with this, and then allegations were made about people making antisemitic remarks at meetings and trolling people and being abusive to Jewish Labour MPs. Absolutely, totally unacceptable in any form. The numbers involved were actually very small.

    So, I asked Shami Chakrabarti to do an investigation into this and produce a proposal, which she did, which was to have a stronger governance unit, have it independent of the party leadership, and that cases should be referred to them for process. I had a very strong view in my office that I was not to be the judge, jury and decision-maker on each case. Any case that was brought to my attention - and some were, people wrote in and things like that - I didn’t deal with it, I passed it straight on to the governance and legal unit. That process needs to be examined very closely, how efficiently they dealt with those or didn’t deal with those, and the party policy has to be one that we don’t tolerate antisemitism in any form.

    It also has to be clear that we do not tolerate any form of racism within our party, any more than any other party should. So, the allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party also deserve to be investigated. And unless we, as a society, recognise the cancer that racism in any form is, then we’re weakened as a society because that leads to wasted opportunities, it leads to damaged lives, it leads to violence against individuals on our street.

    DH: But why did this happen under your leadership as opposed to [predecessor] Ed Miliband’s? Objective evidence says there were actually more incidents of antisemitism under a Jewish leader than it was under you, before all this started.

    JC: Well, it came up very heavily against me and I believed –

    DH: Why you?

    JC: They attacked me all the time on this. I think it is wrong, because I think I’m the one that actually introduced a process for dealing with it. There has to be an examination of the way in which that process operated. I then realised there was a logjam building up in the party on individual cases. And so, I proposed the expansion of the National Constitutional Committee, which was duly done in order to deal with cases more quickly. I also introduced a system where egregious cases could be dealt with very quickly, but still within the ambit of rules of natural justice. And so, I feel that the attacks on me have been extremely unfair on this.

    PO: [The BBC investigative programme] Panorama says, or contains, very serious claims that you actually impeded antisemitism investigations by the Labour Party.

    JC: That is absolutely not the case, I was the one that introduced a system to ensure they were properly dealt with. What I inherited was a system that was not effective, that wasn’t clear, that wasn’t definitive. And that’s why I asked Shami Chakrabarti to do her report and she also recommended in that there should be a process of education as well, as to what antisemitism is or what any form of racism is and the use of language and behaviour. And historically in Britain, the tolerance of antisemitism is huge. When you think of Churchill’s antisemitic remarks all through his life... And the degrees of acceptance of antisemitism throughout our history is huge. And I think there has to be a challenge to that or any form of racism. And that is what I tried to do within the party as party leader and it’s what I spend my life doing.

    DH: But do you accept that as a result of this whole storm, that never really died away and is continuing as we speak, with the future publication of the report by the Equalities Commission -

    JC: Remember the Equalities Commission is now an arm of government. Remember that. It’s not a –

    PO: Why do you say that?

    JC: Because I think it’s quite significant that the Conservative government has underfunded the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, indeed I went on demonstrations outside its office to demand better funding of it and took place. And for some reason, which I don’t fully understand, they decided to take it away from its independent status and make it part of [the] government machine. And I think it’s quite important, and had we won the election, I would have reinstated the principle of its complete independence, but also of a wider Equalities and Human Rights Commission, so it dealt with, maybe in separate arms of it, age discrimination, gender discrimination and so on, within our society. Because I do think, the Equalities Act of 2010 was an important step forward in the direction we should go as a society.

    DH: Are you suggesting that that could colour their decision on the Labour Party?

    JC: Let’s see what happens.

    DH: Do you accept that as a result of you having lost this battle to clean up the Labour Party, or the label that there is an antisemitism problem specifically in the Labour Party, stuck under your leadership, that it has now become much more difficult to campaign for the Palestinian cause? All sorts of people, including a very distinguished Middle East Eye columnist, are now being accused of antisemitism simply and solely because they’re sticking up for the Palestinian cause.

    JC: Shami made it very clear in her report that antisemitism was completely unacceptable and that in any discussion of the issues of Palestine, of Israel-Palestine relations, or of the future of Palestinian people, it is perfectly possible to have those discussions without indulging in any form of antisemitism. And it is. And I indeed have been, as you know, a member of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and I’ve been at Palestine Solidarity Campaign meetings where somebody has made antisemitic remarks and they’ve been removed from the meeting as a result. PSC did that. They’re very clear about that and they’re right to be, of course.

    And so, I have always supported the need for recognition of the state of Palestine. And I propose that, and it was in both of our manifestos and I hope that will remain their full recognition. I’ve also made very clear my opposition to the Trump plan, because I think if the Trump plan goes ahead, then the chances of a two-state solution just disappear with it because, in fact, there would be no contiguous Palestinian area at all. It would be a series of islands of what would be called Palestine, which would be Ramallah and Jericho, and one or two other places. I mean, it is a proposal which essentially is [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s dream of taking over virtually the whole of the West Bank.

    PO: Can I ask you, do you think that the British government, the foreign secretary and the Middle East minister have protested enough about this plan?

    JC: No, I don’t think they protested enough about this at all. And it’s quite interesting that a cross-party group of MPs have written on this, and I support that letter, saying that there has to be the strongest possible protests.

    My worry is that the Trump plan is so extreme that it will be rejected. But, and I say this sadly, in reality, the Trump plan is actually a continuation of the demands of the Right in Israel politics for a very long time. The danger is there would be some slightly less aversion of the Trump plan proposed where there’s not quite as much expansion, not quite as many settlements, and this will be somehow seen as a victory. The whole process has been that Israel has continuously put in more and more settlements, denied Palestinian people access to land, built a wall through farms that have made it impossible to run a sustainable farm and put the people of Gaza under siege.

    I’ve been in Gaza, I’ve been in the West Bank, I’ve been in Israel, I’ve spoken to people of all sorts of views there. And it’s very hard to put yourself in the place of somebody else. But I remember the first time I went to Gaza, this was in the 90s, I met this lady who was, it turned out, exactly the same age as my late mother, exactly the same age within a month or so. I don’t know how the conversation got onto that.

    PO: We bring our mothers with us wherever we go.

    JC: Indeed, we do. This is true. And so, I sort of reflected on the rich and varied life that my mother led. And then I said to this lady: “What’s your life been like then?” And she described the village that she came from in 1948, which is now where Israel is. And she said since then she’s been living in Gaza, and she’s grateful to the UN Relief and Works Agency for educating her children, and providing food and water supplies, and so on. But she says: “We’ve been living under siege ever since.” And I said: “What about your sons?” None of them lived with her. None of them lived nowhere near. They were away somewhere; one was in prison, one was abroad and so on, and so on. And you just reflect on her life and then look at the lives of, of young people in Gaza.

    Gaza is the most educated place in the world. The highest level of a population with degrees is Gaza. The highest level of people with PhDs is Gaza. They can educate themselves, there’s great universities and colleges and so on, but they can’t travel anywhere. And so that sense of isolation. I remember going to a primary school, the top end, the northern part of the Gaza Strip, you can go to the top floor of this primary school. You can look one way and you can see the fence with Israel beyond it. You can look the other way and you can see the sea. Out in the sea, you can see the Israeli boats that are preventing the Gaza fisher people going further out. On the other side of the fence, in Israel, you can see cars, you can see life, you can see irrigated land and so on. And these kids, being brought up in this school, with a very good school but underfunded and so on.

    And last year, and the year before, I was in Jordan visiting a school in a refugee camp there, and I asked the head teacher: “How much money do you have to run the school?” And he gave me the figures and I sort of did a rapid calculation in my head. And it was quite a good secondary school, I met the school council, students, as impressive as in Jordan. And I worked out that his capitation funding was much less than half that would be available in a secondary school in Britain. And he said it’s going to be halved again, straight away, and it’ll be cut more, and the school may have to close in two months’ time because the US, at that point, Trump had cut the funding for it, for UNRWA. And so, it’s that sense of anger among Palestinian people that I’m not sure people outside fully understand.

    But also, there’s an underestimate of the feelings of people in Israel against it. Last week, I was on a conference call with people from both Palestine and Israel, people from Meretz Party, people from Gush Shalom, from B’Tselem, different peace groups within Israel who said there was a lot of anger and concern that the Trump plan will actually make their lives more dangerous, will make the situation for people in Israel more dangerous. So, the Trump plan is, I think, an absolute disaster waiting to happen.

    DH: Do you think that the future will regard you more kindly than the present?

    JC: Well, it depends who you mean regarding me more kindly.

    DH: I mean that you would have been genuinely a radical prime minister.

    PO: Can I put it in a different way? AJP Taylor gave his lectures in 1956 at the University of Oxford about the British radical tradition. It turned into a wonderful book, The Troublemakers. And he traces a tradition of Englishmen and Brits from Tom Paine to [William] Cobbett, Keir Hardie. And he says that these, and he goes through these characters, they’re outside the governing tradition. They are troublemakers. They’re radicals, he calls them. They never win power in their lifetimes, but they win the future. They become, whatever their views, their views, 20 years after that. And they’re not always right. Taylor said they were against World War Two as a whole these radicals. They were against World War One, that was right. They were against it. But whatever their view is at any given time becomes the orthodoxy 25 years later. Do you buy into any of that?

    JC: Yes, I do. The future is getting closer. Yeah. I mean, I, AJP Taylor wonderful guy. I loved the way he always brought in coincidences as well. The worst - if somebody had, if only they delayed a bit longer at the ticket office and not caught that train, they’d have survived, and so and so would have happened and the X, Y, Z would not have taken place in history. Wonderful. And his talks on television, I remember them as a child. They were absolutely brilliant, I was riveted by these things. The rest of the family: “Well, what you watching that for?” I said: “Oh shut up it’s really good.” Yeah, you know what it’s like with groups, I grew up with three brothers who...

    Anyway, I do think that that great radical tradition is a very strong one. And we deny our understanding, our own history at our peril, because there is a very strong radical tradition throughout Britain, which is often denied by the teaching of normal history. My mum and dad wrote a history of the village they lived in before they died. And at one level, a history of a village is about the church, it’s about the buildings, it’s about the streets, it’s about who owned the land and so on, and so on, and so forth. But they decided to write about the machine riots of the 19th century, about the way in which the agricultural workers tried to destroy the machines that were being brought in because they were able, these machines, [to] thrash corn very quickly, could plough fields very quickly and so on, and deny them work. And of course, there was a purpose behind that, to drive them into the cities to work in making those very same machines in the cities. And so, there’s that radical history that runs all through our lives.

    Now, the people you mentioned, Peter, such as Keir Hardie and Tom Paine and others, Tom Paine is a fascinating figure. And his writing of the Rights of Man was obviously enormous, and his role in the supporting the French Revolution, and then going to America, and so on, was absolutely critical. But the interesting one was Mary Wollstonecraft. She lived just down the road from him, just a 15-minute walk from here in Newington Green. And she was really naffed off by Tom Paine. “Hang on what’s all this? What about the rights of women?” So, she wrote the treatises on the Rights of Women and founded the girls’ school in Newington Green. And she is one of my great heroes because of the complicated life that she led, the tragedy of her death at the birth of her daughter Mary [Shelley] and, of William Godwin and all of those, that great radical tradition. And so, I think we have to remember all of them and the contribution they made.

    Hardie is to me, an absolutely fascinating figure, a child labourer in the mines, quite religious and strong in the temperance movements, ended up working for the church and the temperance movement. Eventually becomes a miner’s agent organiser and eventually becomes the first Labour MP. And he had this amazing internationalist view. Now, where did that come from? Because this is a man who had grown up with very limited education, taught through the church and, taught himself a great deal, became a member of parliament, and during the time as a member of parliament, he travelled to South Africa, he travelled to India, he travelled the United States. And it wasn’t a question of hopping on a plane and getting to Mumbai six hours later. It was a question of two weeks on a ship. And the same for South Africa, same for the USA. And then he built this relationship with people and stood up against the indentured labour system in South Africa, against the caste system in India, and against the exploitation of migrant workers in the United States and brought all that back. He opposed the First World War because he felt, and he’d worked with Jean Juares and others in opposing the First World War and trying to build this workers unity across Europe. And Adam Hochschild’s book about the opponents, the First World War, is a very instructive book. And in doing all of that, he eventually was defeated by the, I don’t know, the xenophobia of the time, the nationalism of the time, and he was unable to sustain that and eventually died from a heart attack.

    I think it was brought about by his depression at the way in which the basic tenet of international solidarity of the working class in Germany as well as in Britain and France and so on, had been so defeated by the Kitchener campaign. And I think he’s somebody that we should think about and remember quite a lot, of standing up against the tide.

    PO: Yes, he lost his immediate political battles, but he won his long-term political battles.

    JC: Well, he’s the one who’s remembered.

    PO: Can I just ask Jeremy one final thing? Unless it’s too late?

    DH: Go on. One more question.

    PO: So, you’ve had a very bruising and must have been exhausting, morally challenging, four, five years. How do you plan to spend your future?

    JC: Well, as busy as ever. I am the MP for Islington North and very proud to be so and I have never neglected my constituency, and never would, and didn’t while I was leader of the party either. This is one of the big arguments in the office. I said: “Fridays is constituency day. I’ll be there.” They said: “Yeah, but we’d like you to –” I said: “No. I will be there.” It may be I’ll travel somewhere in the evening or whatever, but I [will] always be there, and I think it’s important for two reasons. One is because it’s your duty, if you’re elected to represent an area, you have to represent an area and you can’t, there’s no substitute for actually being there and getting involved in the random conversations on the doorstep, on the street and so on, about people’s lives. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you regular. And so, I’ve done that. So, I’m doing plenty of that. I’ve been volunteering at all the food banks in the constituency during the corona crisis, and I’m doing a lot of work on international issues, peace and justice and human rights, and working on environmental issues as well.

    So, I’m extremely busy, as I’ve always been, and I have never given up my allotment either, and won’t. And indeed, I’m about to plant out all the maize next weekend. It’s growing nicely in the back garden and it will be taken up to the allotment, growing, we grow two varieties of maize. One is F1 hybrid maize, which is developed in Europe and grows very fast and looks very good and all the rest of it. But we have a far more interesting maize that’s Mexican maize in honour of Laura. And it is multi-coloured and it’s beautiful to eat. But it’s slower growing in this country, but it grows very well in Mexico. We just need a bit more sun here.

    PO: Well it looks like it will be a hot summer.

    JC: One hopes.

    DH: Thank you Mr Corbyn for a very full interview and good answers. You can watch this on www.middleeasteye.org and associated platforms. Thanks also to Peter for joining me.

    JC: Thank you very much. Really enjoyed it.

    #politique #labour #Royaume_Uni #Jeremy_Corbyn

  • #Covid-19: risk of death in UK care homes 13 times higher than in Germany | Coronavirus outbreak | The Guardian

    The analysis of official statistics was carried out by academics at the London School of Economics as part of the International Long Term Care Policy Network.

    Of all the UK’s care home residents, 5.3% were confirmed or suspected to have died from Covid-19, compared with 0.4% in Germany, according to analysis of official statistics.

    About 3,500 people died in care homes in Germany compared with more than 16,000 in the UK, despite Germany having a care home population twice as large. Its test-and-trace system and 14-day quarantine for people leaving hospital have been credited with protecting homes from outbreaks.

    #vieux #royaume-uni #Allemagne

  • https://quillette.com/2020/06/18/how-britains-feminist-grass-roots-turned-the-tide-against-gender-extremis

    ERIN PERSE, Wild Women Writing Club : "En pleine pandémie de COVID-19 et en pleine série de protestations massives contre les brutalités policières racistes aux États-Unis, on pourrait avoir du mal à croire que les opinions relevant du simple bon sens d’une écrivaine rappelant la biologie humaine fassent la manchette. Pourtant, partout où vous regardez, vous verrez des artices sur la créatrice de Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, qui est maintenant dénoncée comme « transphobe » pour avoir énoncé des vérités claires sur les différences entre les hommes et les femmes.
    En fait, l’attention s’est tellement focalisée sur Rowling que certains ont manqué les nouvelles britanniques les plus importantes dans ce domaine : Le gouvernement conservateur du pays prend ses distances par rapport aux réformes législatives proposées qui auraient consacré l’"autodéclaration du genre" au détriment du sexe biologique. Bien que Liz Truss, ministre britannique de la Femme et de l’Égalité, ne publiera probablement pas la réponse politique du gouvernement avant le mois de juillet, des fuites confirment que l’"autodéclaration" (comme elle est largement connue) ne sera finalement pas instaurée e par l’État. De plus, Liz Truss affirme vouloir protéger les enfants « dysphoriques » face à des « décisions irréversibles » concernant leur corps, et permettre aux femmes de créer et de maintenir des espaces sûrs non mixtes, sans individus de sexe masculin. C’est une victoire énorme pour les militantEs que l’on appelle « critiques à l’égard du genre », qui ne disposent pas des budgets faramineux et de l’influence institutionnelle d’un lobby transgenre bien plus à la mode — et cela, même s’il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour réparer les dégâts déjà faits. (...)

    The novelists, librarians, and booksellers circling the wagons to shut women up have been insisting for years that they are motivated by nothing but love and tolerance. And for a while, people took them at their word—including many policymakers and legislators. But all cults eventually collapse under the weight of their own dogma once its absurdity is exposed. And thanks to the grass-roots efforts of women on both side of the Atlantic, that is what we now see happening.


    #transgenrisme #royaume-uni #autodéclaration du genre #féminisme grassroots #rowling

    • Pour ce qui est de quillette :

      Its editorial position was described in 2017 as “libertarian-leaning”

      "a hub for reactionary thought

      Writing for The Guardian, Jason Wilson describes Quillette as "a website obsessed with the alleged war on free speech on campus


      Et d’un torchon l’autre...

      En septembre 2018 Quillette a annoncé un partenariat avec le magazine français Le Point, qui a publié hebdomadairement sur son site depuis le 22 septembre 2018 la traduction d’un article du site9,10. Les traductions sont effectuées par Peggy Sastre.


      et dire que je m’étonnais (et regrettait) de voir associer fascisme et abolitionnisme en manif... Que le traducteur de Dworkin se fasse traducteur de défenseurs du « free speech » pseudo-scientifique, c’est quelque chose d’au-delà même du catastrophique... c’est vomitoire.

    • Décidément, faute de prendre en compte les faits en cause, on se rabat sur le dictionnaire des synonymes... Vos imprécations complaisantes ne changent rien au fait qu’il est souvent arrivé que des médias centristes ou de droite aient d’abord été les seuls à tenir tête à la montée d’industries et de mouvements misogynes et, oui, répressifs des libertés fondamentales - malgré les déchirements de chemise de la soi-disant gauche. Pensons au grand silence de la gauche européenne face aux goulags il y a 60 ans. Cette trahison de la gauche - puisque vous aimez les gros mots qui tachent - est notamment ce que Dworkin - puisque vous la citez - et ses alliées des milieux noirs et appauvris étasuniens ont dû affronter à Minneapolis et Indianapolis au milieu des années 80 et elle en est venue à des conclusions amères sur cette soi-disant gauche dévolue aux « droits sexuels » des hommes contre ceux de la population la plus exploitée par le dumping des industries du sexe dans leurs quartiers (lire « Against the Flood » sur radfem.org/dworkin).

      « The new pornography is left-wing ; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too. » (Andrea Dworkin, Pornography : Men Possessing Women, à paraître en français bientôt aux Éditions LIBRE

      Par ailleurs, il est un peu malhonnête de ne pas mentionner tous les nombreux médias intellectuel-le-s progressistes qui ont publié des articles tout aussi avisés contre le forcing transgenriste/antiféministe. Vous en trouverez plusieurs traductions sur TRADFEM si vous en prenez la peine...