JCORE supports call for review into Institutional Racism in the Home Office

The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) has joined 14 other race equality and migrant rights organisations in calling for a review into institutional racism in the Home Office.

This call follows the release of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, which examines how British citizens were wrongly detained and deported, denied access to NHS care and lost their jobs and homes, as a consequence of the government’s ‘Hostile Environment’ policy.

Considering over 69,000 official documents, the scathing report states that the Home Office demonstrated “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race.” The report also urges the Home Office to ensure that future policy is rooted in humanity, to avoid a repeat of the appalling injustices suffered by victims of the Windrush Scandal.

The organisations are also urging the government to make the Windrush Compensation scheme more accessible, to immediately scrap the ‘Hostile Environment’ and to end deportations of people who have lived in Britain since they were children.

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director at the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said: “While we welcome the overdue publication of this report and apology from the Home Secretary, the government must take further action, and adopt all the recommendations in the review, to prove their sincerity. In ordinary circumstances, these alarming and shameful findings would be front-page news, and it is crucial that the current context does not allow the government to escape scrutiny for its actions.

Those affected by the Windrush Scandal faced appalling injustices, and there have been far too many heart-breaking stories of lives destroyed by the government’s actions. Deliberate policies, not isolated mistakes, caused the Windrush Scandal, and to begin the process of ‘righting the wrongs’, the government should urgently review the culture of the Home Office, and ensure that it treats people with dignity and respect.

For the government to truly recognise the damage that has been done, the dehumanisation and scapegoating of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers must also stop. The ongoing coronavirus crisis makes the immediate scrapping of the ‘Hostile Environment’ particularly imperative - at this time, it is more important than ever that the most vulnerable within our society are fully supported.

We in the Jewish community know all too well what the result of hostile immigration policies can be. It is crucial that we continue to work with others, to hold the government accountable, and to ensure that the institutional cruelty of the Windrush Scandal is never repeated.”

Read the full set of recommendations from 15 race equality and migrant rights organisations here: https://www.runnymedetrust.org/blog/windrush-15-race-equality-and-migrant-organisations-call-for-review-into-institutional-racism-in-the-home-office

Read the ‘Windrush lessons learned review’ by Wendy Williams here: