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Ensuring justice for the ‘Windrush generation’ must start by reversing hostile policies towards migrants and asylum seekers

As Commonwealth heads of state meet in London, BASW added its voice to calls for the Government to do more to reassure and protect the human rights of the Windrush generation following further revelations of people losing livelihoods and healthcare, being trapped abroad or wrongfully deported.

Chief Executive Dr Ruth Allen said: “It is shameful that as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the docking of the Empire Windrush which brought to this country men, women and children who have contributed enormously to British life, some from this generation are still unsure about their status, citizenship and future. 

“A wider conversation must stem from this on how we are treating migrants who came here legally from all over the world to live, work and contribute to our society, but whose paperwork doesn’t fit the narrow requirements of the Home Office.

“We need to provide meaningful assurance and resolution to people who are terrified and feel rejected by the country they have contributed to for years, often decades.

“The Government must make a serious effort to find out whether they have wrongfully deported anyone already and see the safe return of those in limbo from having travelled abroad, only to find themselves barred from re-entering the country.

“Respect for human rights and a commitment to promoting social justice are at the core of social work practice throughout the world. That is why BASW is urging the Government to do what is necessary to reassure the Windrush generation and other migrants facing a hostile approach to their status.”

BASW’s call for action comes as the association led a working party of Commonwealth NGOs in drafting a paper on ‘Fairness’, which has already been presented to senior officials from Commonwealth countries as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The paper covers themes such as ‘A Fairer Future, A More Secure Future, A More Prosperous Future and A More Sustainable Future’ and is a vehicle for BASW to ensure the profession is part of the coalition of NGOs seeking to lobby and affect the Commonwealth to ensure that social work goals and values are represented.

The paper tackles several universal issues, such as fair access to economic resources and fairness on women’s rights, especially regarding gender-based violence, as well as addressing issues of concern to social workers as rights of older people, disabled people, young carers and children, freedom of expression and protection for journalists, and rights of people of different sexual orientation and gender.