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Independent watchdog reports fair and humane treatment not consistently achieved on enforced removal flights

The treatment of some, including the men on the aborted operation to Rwanda in June 2022, fell short of fair and humane, and added to their distress. The IMB Charter Flight Monitoring Team (CFMT) noted the following in their 2022 annual report:

  • failures to provide interpreting services at critical junctures
  • confining some in parked vehicles for hours at a time, an inhumane practice
  • uses of restraint and of force observed to be higher on flights to non-European destinations.

The CFMT also noted the following positives:

  • escorting staff generally showing empathy and respect when communicating with returnees
  • returnees now allowed to walk onto the aircraft without their arms being held and to use the toilet in privacy, subject to individual risk assessments.

The CFMT Chair Lou Lockhart-Mummery MBE said,

“Enforced removal is stressful. Some returnees were acutely distressed. The report gives examples of poor operational decisions which contributed to distress. It also demonstrates other failures to achieve consistent fair and humane treatment.”