Windrush: People wrongfully detained tell their stories to MPs and Peers this afternoon


 The new Home Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs yesterday that he ‘did not know’ how many people had been detained from the Windrush generation. But what is it really like to be wrongfully detained?

For the first time since the Windrush story broke, MPs and Peers on the Joint Committee on Human Rights hear from real people who have been wrongfully detained, and whether they feel their human rights may have been breached.

Witnesses from 3.15pm:

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

The session will explore he 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.

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

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

  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.


More about the committee’s work here
Watch live or on demand – NB you can now self-serve and download web-quality MP4 files – clips or whole sessioN

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)
Lord Woolf (Crossbench)

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