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Mass deportation



Charter Flights

Since 9/11, the government has invested in more efficient methods of removing asylum seekers. As well as cutting access to legal aid, limiting the ability to appeal against decisions and fast-tracking applications which have increased the number of unsuccessful claims, the turn towards the privatisation of the asylum system has led to increasing investment in Frontex, an EU-wide authority responsible for border control and removal.

Since 2001, UK and other Western countries have increasingly made use of charter flights. In 2009 alone, the UK deported almost 2000 people in this way. Since the flights are privately administered, there is little information on the actual conditions of treatment on board these planes apart from the officially conducted inspections. The private security companies in charge for mass removal by charter planes are allowed to restrain people with handcuffs, for example, and on some routes, such as on a flight between Switzerland and Nigeria, it has been reported that people are restrained by leg irons and chains, resembling materials historically used for transporting slaves.

Private security firms in charge of mass removals from the UK, such as G4S, have been criticised for inhumane treatment of detainees. There are no regular passengers on a charter flight, which means that there is less accountability in the way that the deportees are treated while on board. What is known is that there have been a number of reported deaths via deportation. With mass deportations via privately chartered flights, there are no witnesses who can oppose the treatment of deportees and consequently, the security guards on those planes are not held to account.