UN human rights experts appalled by death of Angolan migrant

21 October 2010

United Nations independent experts on human rights today voiced concern over the reported death onboard a flight of a man being deported from the United Kingdom to Angola, in the custody of guards for a private security company, after his appeal to remain in the European country was rejected.

“I am disturbed at seeing the manner in which migrants are being treated, with no dignity at all, due to the criminalization of irregular migration which leads to such a situation,” said Jorge Bustamante, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, in a statement.

Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan national, reportedly died 50 minutes after boarding a British Airways flight at Heathrow airport in London on 13 October. He was reportedly surrounded by three guards working for G4S, a private security company, when he died.

“I hope the fact that British Airways staff responsible for safety and security on board did not intervene, despite numerous cries for help, is not a reflection of a growing indifference to the human rights of persons under custody of an authority,” Mr. Bustamante said.

He and the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries both welcomed the UK Government’s probe into the incident.

“Although G4S employees are not law enforcement officials, they are contracted by the United Kingdom Government to carry out governmental functions outsourced to them and as such, the Government should ensure that they are subject to the same rules as the law enforcement officials who would normally carry out these functions,” Alexander Nikitin, who heads the Working Group, said.

 

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