There has been news of an ‘Ethnic Charter Flight’ to Nigeria on 29th April 2009 via Ireland. Immigration detainees have received removal directions on flight PVT007 to Dublin at 18:00 connecting with PVT008 to Lagos at 21:00.

deportationsPlease join us to demonstrate against this mass forced deportation of Nigerian people:
Wednesday 29th April at 5:30pm at the Aneurin Bevan statue (Castle end of Queen Street), Cardiff.
All welcome. Bring placards and banners if you can.

‘Ethnic charter flights’ are planes booked by the UK Border Agency specifically to deport large groups of people of a particular nationality. The exact details of the flights, including where the flight is departing from and the operating airline, are not given to those due to be deported. Airlines known to operate these deportation charter flights from the UK and Ireland include Air Algerie Hamburg International, Channel Express, Air Partners and Czech Airlines.

tn130_729637979Due to successful anti-deportation campaigning, using commercial flights for the forced removal of migrants is becoming increasingly difficult, costly and embarrassing both for the government and airlines who carry migrants against their will. Ethnic charter flights are being resorted to by the government to frustrate migrants’ opportunities for legally challenging a deportation and to make it more difficult for supporters to take action against a removal.

These government chartered deportation flights could be viewed as amounting  to collective expulsion, which is prohibited under Protocol 4, Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights which states:

“Collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited”

However, the UK Government continues to refuse to ratify this protocol.

180px-stamp_southern_nigeria_1901_1shNigeria was a British colony until 1960 and like much of Africa it was created as the arbitrary division of colonial possessions; even the name Nigeria was invented by the wife of the Colonial Governor General. Many of the current problems faced by people in the region are the direct result of exploitation and domination by British interests, both during the age of Empire and more recent capitalist neo-colonialism. Were it not for the systematic plundering of its wealth, Nigeria would have the potential to be a very rich and powerful state. Despite having abundant natural resources and being a major oil producer, poverty is a fact of life for the majority of people in this, the most populous country in Africa.

The political fallout of post-colonial reorganisation has led to military coups, brutal civil war and endemic corruption. The Human Rights Watch World Report 2008 for Nigeria states:

“Widespread government corruption, political and intercommunal violence, police torture and other abuses continue to deny ordinary Nigerians their basic human rights…millions of Nigerians still lack access to basic health and education services”.

UK Border control is a clumsy attempt to avoid the payback of conquest and exploitation, a refusal to acknowledge the victims of the crimes of empire. Those who have been dispossessed by imperialist domination are perfectly justified in following the flow of wealth back to Britain.

Do you know any Nigerians in detention who have received removal directions? Please send any info to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns