Runnymede and 35 race equality, migrant rights and human rights organisations, and Windrush campaigners, wrote to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, outlining ten key recommendations to prioritise following the publication of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review in March 2020.
See the full letter and list of signatories below.
To the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
By email only: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
8 April 2020
Dear Home Secretary,
We are a group of race equality, human rights and migrant rights organisations, writing in response to the important Windrush Lessons Learned Review, published on 19 March, 2020.
We recognise the government’s strong commitment to issue this Review, and of successive Home Secretaries to learn the wider lessons from the profound injustice where Black British people were denied their rights and as a result lost jobs, homes, access to education and NHS treatment, and were wrongly detained and deported, due to government policies. We look forward to working with you to implement the recommendations that the report has outlined.
Building on Wendy Williams action points for change we have outlined ten recommendations that we believe the government should prioritise. They include appointing an independent advisory group and chair reporting directly to Number 10 and the Cabinet Office to implement the findings and ensure the injustices of the Windrush Scandal are not repeated.
The proof of the government learning the lessons of Windrush, and righting the wrong to the Windrush generation, is implementing the findings of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review and actioning the recommendations below as a matter of urgency.
We are calling on government to act on the following recommendations:
1) The treatment of the Windrush generation was a terrible but predictable injustice. The Review shows that government ignored repeated warnings and has still refused to apologise and compensate people who were detained, deported and in some cases died having been wrongfully treated. The government must right the wrong to those affected, make the compensation scheme process more independent and accessible, and implement all 30 of the Review’s 30 recommendations.
2) The Review shows why the Hostile Environment must be scrapped. None of the measures cited in the report, such as Right to Rent, have been repealed, the Home Office continues to treat people badly while the current Immigration Bill continues with policies and framing that will lead to further injustices.
3) The EHRC should undertake an independent review into whether the Home Office’s immigration policy and practices are in accordance with equality law, including its understanding of racial discrimination and the extent of institutional racism in the department.
4) The Review also reveals poor workplace practices and culture in the Home Office. It is long past time for systemic reforms in decision-making, to ensure caseworkers get better support and are able to raise concerns with senior managers, and for leadership to send a stronger message that it is committed to a more open and empathetic organisational culture.
5) Deportations of those who have lived in Britain since they were children should now end. Further, citizenship policy (including fees) should ensure that those who have the right to citizenship are provided with that citizenship, and racially discriminatory clauses in the 1971 Immigration Act and the 1981 Immigration and Nationality Act should be repealed.
6) The government should commit to an extensive well-funded programme of support for grassroots and voluntary sector services that run outreach and support programmes for survivors of the Windrush injustice. The Hostile Environment is the latest in a catalogue of injustices experienced by this community over many years, and so this support should be extended to the wider cause of racial justice.
7) The Windrush injustice reflects the Home Office’s failure to listen to those affected and organisations that pointed out the likely impact of the Hostile Environment. Government has refused to listen to civil society, dismissed concerns out of hand and attacked the integrity of those raising genuine concerns. The government must implement the Windrush Lessons Learned Review’s recommendations on better engaging outside government, including groups that criticise its policies, if it is to avoid another similar injustice. The government should establish an independent advisory group and chair that reports directly to Number 10 and the Cabinet Office on the implementation of the Windrush Lesson Learned Review.
8) The recommendation on better teaching our history to Home Office staff should be fully implemented. The teaching of Britain’s history of migration, colonialism and enslavement, should be extended to schools, so that all British children learn this history, and its ongoing effects, as a matter of course.
9) The government should establish an independent advisory group and chair that reports directly to Number 10 and the Cabinet Office on the implementation of all 30 recommendations of the Windrush Lesson Learned Review.
10) Everyone who has accessed the Windrush Scheme and who has been wrongly treated should be granted British citizenship, without costs, or legal fees.
Dr Omar Khan,
Director, Runnymede Trust
The organisations supporting these recommendations are:
Bail for Immigration Detainees
Black Cultural Archives
Black South West Network
Black Training and Enterprise Group
Centre for Migration Advice and Research
Croydon BME Forum
Friends, Families and Travellers
Greenwich Inclusion Project
Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants
McKenzie Beute and Pope
Migrants Rights Network
National AIDS Trust
Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Patrick Vernon OBE
Race on the Agenda
Right to Remain
The Black Curriculum
The Equality Trust
The Traveller Movement
Women’s Resource Centre
Women’s Budget Group