Jean Pierre Gueutchue‘s removal flight at 8pm today (Monday 21st July) is on the notorious flight KQ101. This Kenya Airways flight has been charted by the Home Office to forcibly deport ‘failed’ asylum seekers to Nairobi, from where they are flown all over Africa and handed over to the local authorities.
In October 2007 the Independent newspaper reported
The echo of George Orwell’s Room 101 is unhappily appropriate. On this Kenya Airways jet, many asylum-seekers’ worst nightmares do come true. KQ101 is the deportation flight chartered by the British Government to return refugees to Africa. According to human rights groups, this flight carries out the most Africa-bound removals of unsuccessful asylum applicants to the UK. It has also become a flight that has attracted allegations of abuse by guards.
The Home Office has a number of contracts with airlines for removal flights of failed asylum-seekers. Kenya Airways admit that it has one of these government contracts, but claims that “We have not received any complaints about these flights” – lets change that for a start!
Kenya Airways’ slogan is “The Pride of Africa” and like all large corporations they like to maintain a positive public image, it is sickly ironic, given their involvement in mass deportation, that one of the charities they support is Born Free.
Of course abuse is not limited to this particular flight, Stephanie Toumi was so badly assaulted by four Group 4 Securicor (G4S) guards on her deportation flight to Cameroon last month that she now has to use a wheelchair.
The escorts threw themselves on me. One scraped me and I fell on my stomach, the other trapped my arms, twisting them behind and the other two put on handcuffs. I felt a very severe pain in my body and I wanted to twist my right foot to get up, but one of them totally paralysed this foot by giving me a sharp blow with his knee.
Such stories are becoming all too common, the abuse of deportees by private companies in forced removals has been well documented in the June 2008 report Outsourcing Abuse.
Jean Pierre Gueutche’s Last Chance
This Monday 21st July please take just a few minutes to send faxes and make phone calls to raise your objection to this deportation. Bombarding the airline and Home Office seems to be Jean Pierre’s last hope, as all legal avenues have been exhausted. Pressure on the carrying airline has been shown to be effective, as with the last-minute Kemi Ayinde campaign where British Airways refused to fly her.
1) Send faxes all day Monday to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office using this model letter asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK.
Fax: 020 7035 3262 (+ 44 20 7035 3262 if you are faxing from outside UK)
2) Send urgent faxes all day Monday to Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways using this model letter, urging them not to participate in forcibly removing a victim of torture.
Fax: 020 8745 5027 (+44 20 8745 5027from outside the UK)
Tel: 020 8283 1800 (+ 44 2082 831 800 from outside the UK)
Also try this ’emergencies only’ telephone no: 020 8759 7366