A report in the Guardian is maintaining that “despite strict rules prohibiting deportations to countries in which an individual’s life may be in danger,…. the men were sent back to Jamaica which has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world.”
The majority of murders the Guardian has identified involving people deported from the UK to Jamaica, have occurred in the past three or four months.
Some of the men had convictions for violent and drug-related offences. But Naga Kandiah, a public law solicitor at MTC & Co – which deals with many Jamaican deportation cases – said the government’s human rights obligations were not dependent on past behaviour.
“The Home Office’s own guidance recognises the high level of crime there due to organised gangs,” he said. “Nobody is saying that these men had not committed crimes, but it is a clear breach of human rights legislation to send them back to a country where their life could be in serious danger.”
The Guardian report identified those who have been killed as:
- Owen Clarke, 62, who was shot and killed by armed men on 23 February. Clarke, known as Father Fowl and Roy Fowl, was a music promoter and had been convicted of dealing drugs. According to Jamaican media, he was a leader of the British Link-Up Crew, a dancehall events business in the UK and Jamaica, which was allegedly a front for drug smuggling.
- Dewayne Robinson, 37, known as Little Wicked, was murdered on 4 March 2018.
- Alphonso Harriott, 56, known as Oney British and reportedly part of the same crew as Clarke, was murdered on 29 March.
- Paul Mitchell, 50, was fatally stabbed on 31 December in the grocery store at which he worked.
- Hugh Bennett, 48, a shopkeeper, was stabbed to death on 31 December.
The report quoted the Home Office’s guidance about Jamaica published in March last year, that “the Jamaica constabulary force is “underpaid, poorly trained, understaffed and lacking in resources”. Organised criminal elements are prevalent and extremely active, the guidance states, and police only make arrests in 45% of cases, with a homicide conviction rate of 7%. Eighty per cent of murders involve firearms.”
Hum an rights organizations argue that by deporting these persons to Jamaica, they are being placed in danger, thus adding to the punishment already imposed by the court.
“It is incredibly disturbing that the government continues to pursue deportations at the expense of its human rights obligations, which stipulate that people must not be deported to situations where they face threats to their life, torture or ill-treatment,” said Gracie Bradley of the human rights organization, Liberty.
“These worrying incidents further highlight why the practice of deportation post-conviction is a discriminatory form of double punishment that should be scrapped,” she declared.
The End Deportations group want the flights to stop immediately before more lives are lost.
“Should the Home Office receive any specific allegations that a returnee has experienced ill-treatment on return to their country of origin, these would be investigated in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ” says a spokesman for the Home Office.
According to the Guardian, last year, there were 1,287 murders in Jamaica, about 47 per 100,000 population. In contrast, there were 726 homicides in the UK in 2017-18 – 12 per million of the population.
- Countries: United_Kingdom
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