• Saturday, June 15, 2024

UK News

Braverman’s decision on Windrush measures was unlawful, court told

Suella Braverman speaks during the “NatCon” national conservatism conference gathering of hard-right European politicians at the Claridge hotel in Brussesl on April 16, 2024. (Photo by SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

FORMER home secretary Suella Braverman’s decision to abandon three key recommendations aimed at rectifying the injustices suffered by the Windrush generation was discriminatory and illegal, the high court has been told.

The court heard that the Windrush scandal had inflicted significant harm on individuals who had lived in the UK for decades, with many facing wrongful arrest, detention, deportation, job loss, homelessness, and denial of healthcare, reported The Guardian.

In response, the Home Office had pledged to implement a comprehensive improvement programme.

One victim of the Windrush scandal, Trevor Donald, endured a nine-year ordeal in Jamaica after being denied re-entry to the UK. He lost his mother during this time and faced numerous hardships, including the loss of his home and strained relationships with his children.

Donald, 68, eventually regained British citizenship in 2022 and is now suing the Home Office for unlawful discrimination.

Donald’s representative, Phillippa Kaufmann KC, stated that Home Office employees grew concerned in summer 2022 as it became evident that despite ministers’ assurances, little progress had been made on implementing all 30 recommendations.

Following the Windrush controversy, an independent inquiry led by solicitor Wendy Williams was initiated to uncover the scandal’s root causes and prevent its recurrence. Former home secretary Priti Patel endorsed all 30 recommendations for reforming the Home Office.

The court heard that Braverman chose not to fulfill several crucial commitments, including organising reconciliation events for Windrush survivors to share their experiences and appointing a migrants’ commissioner to advocate for their rights.

These decisions, along with others, sparked outrage among Windrush victims and advocacy groups.

Legal representatives for Donald and the Black Equity Organisation argued that Braverman’s actions amounted to direct discrimination against black and Asian communities, exacerbating the broken promises and mistreatment faced by the Windrush generation.

In defence, the Home Office contended that it was not obligated to implement recommendations deemed contrary to the public interest, emphasising that Wendy Williams’ recommendations were not legally binding.

A petition signed by over 53,000 individuals urged the Home Office to honor its commitments.

The hearing concluded with a decision pending from Justice Heather Williams, expected to be delivered in writing at a later date.

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