Did Government breach the human rights of the Windrush generation by unlawful detention? Joint Committee on Human Rights takes evidence from detainees  

This Wednesday 16th  May the Joint Committee on Human Rights will hold the first of two evidence sessions on the detention of members of the Windrush generation, and will be taking evidence from people who have been wrongfully detained.

The session will explore:

  • The process by which those who have a legal right to live in the UK were wrongfully detained; and
  • Whether existing safeguards to prevent wrongful immigration detention are sufficient and effective.

Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides the right to liberty and security, including in relation to immigration detention.


  • Anthony Bryan and Janet McKay Williams
  • Paulette Wilson and Natalie Barnes
  • Pieree Makhlouf, Assistant Director, Bail for Immigration Detention

Detention of members of the Windrush generation
Many people moved to the UK from the Commonwealth before 1973 – often referred to as “the Windrush Generation”, and in this call we seek to include evidence from immigrants who may have been affected from all over the Commonwealth. Such people spent decades in the UK confident of their legal status because, under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. However, following changes in legislation and government policy, many have faced serious difficulties in proving that they are residing in the UK legally.

Anyone who belongs to the Windrush generation and was detained and wishes to tell us about their experience should contact the Joint Committee on Human Rights 020 7219 2384 jchr@parliament.uk.


Immigration detention is an administrative process, whereby Home Office officials (rather than judges) make the decision to detain an individual. The power in law to detain an illegal immigrant rests with the immigration officer.

In order to be lawful, immigration detention must:

  • be based on one of the statutory powers (which are spread across different pieces of immigration legislation) which state that a person may only be detained under immigration powers … with a view to his removal;
  • be in accordance with the limitations implied by domestic and Strasbourg case law;
  • be in accordance with the Home Office’s stated policy; and
  • be for a reasonable period of time and with a realistic prospect for removal from the UK.


Membership of the Committee:

Ms Harriet Harman MP (Chair) (Labour)
Ms Fiona Bruce MP (Conservative)
Ms Karen Buck MP (Labour)
Alex Burghart MP (Conservative)

Ms Joanna Cherry MP (SNP)
Jeremy Lefroy MP (Conservative)Baroness Hamwee (Liberal Democrat)
Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon (Labour)
Baroness O’Cathain (Conservative)
Baroness Prosser (Labour)
Lord Trimble (Conservative)

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