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THE Home Office has “no credible explanation” as to why it wrongfully detained two children of the Windrush generation, according to a new report published today.
Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan — now both in their sixties — were each locked up twice despite the Home Office having files filled with evidence that “very strongly” proved they settled in Britain before 1973 and should not be deported.
A report from Parliament’s joint committee on human rights criticised the government for its “shocking” handling of the Windrush scandal.
It found that Home Office officials “demonstrated a general culture that was hostile — failing to treat individuals as deserving of respect and basic dignity.”
The MPs and peers took evidence in person from Ms Wilson, who came to Britain in 1968 when she was 10 years old, and Mr Bryan, who arrived from Jamaica in 1965.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the committee he was sorry for what had happened. A senior Home Office official called the handling of these cases a “mistake.”
But committee chairwoman Harriet Harman said “it is simply not plausible that these cases were just ‘mistakes.’
“The Home Office did not behave like a department which had discovered it had made a terrible mistake, demonstrating a systemic failure when it comes to detaining individuals and depriving them of their liberty.
“What happened to these two people was a total violation of their human rights by the state’s most powerful government department.
“The department simply ground forward through their processes, clearly traumatising Ms Wilson and Mr Bryan in the process.”
Ms Harman said the Home Office “needs to face up to what happened before it can even begin to acknowledge the scale of the problem and stop it happening again.”
The committee said that it intends to carry out a further inquiry in the autumn into the immigration detention system, including the lack of a set time limit to immigration detention.
Britain is the only country in the EU that detains people indefinitely for immigration purposes.
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