Friends urge action on Windrush review

Friends are being asked to write to their MPs regarding the recommendations in the damning Windrush report

Friends are being asked to write to MPs about the recommendations made in the damning Windrush report, which has concluded that Home Office ‘thoughtlessness’ and ‘ignorance’ on race contributed to the scandal.

According to Bridget Walker, a member of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN), there is concern that the independent inquiry into the government’s handling of the Windrush scandal published last week was pushed out ‘at a time when news is effectively being buried, under the weight of reporting on the coronavrus crisis’. The review of the injustice – which saw British citizens wrongly deported, denied access to vital services including the NHS, and dismissed from their jobs – found that the Home Office demonstrated ‘institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race’. Home secretary Priti Patel made an official apology for the findings.

Bridget Walker said that Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM)’s public affairs and advocacy manager Grace da Costa had been writing to Friends about the issue. 

Some of the recommendations made in the report include that: ministers should admit that serious harm was inflicted and apologise; the Home Office should set up a race advisory board and teach staff about Britain’s colonial history; and there should be a full review of the hostile/compliant environment policy. The review found that the government ignored repeated warnings, and that ministers were still failing to acknowledge the extent of suffering inflicted on thousands of people who were mistakenly classified as illegal immigrants. 

Diane Abbott, of the Labour Party, called the review ‘long overdue’ and said the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy should be scrapped. ‘There must be a root and branch overhaul and change of culture.’

Bridget Walker said that she took part in a recent protest against a deportation flight to Jamaica. ‘One of our concerns was that removals were taking place before the Windrush report had been published.’

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