May apologizes to Caribbean countries over UK treatment of Windrush generation migrants

West Indian immigrants arrive at Victoria Station, London, after their journey from Southampton Docks. Named after a ship which brought them to the UK, the Windrush generation enjoyed a special status but that has been eroded over the years by successive immigration reforms. (Getty Images)
Updated 17 April 2018
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May apologizes to Caribbean countries over UK treatment of Windrush generation migrants

  • The Windrush generation, whose parents were invited to Britain to plug labor shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, have been caught up in a tightening of immigration rules.
  • Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness highlighted the Windrush issue at a plenary session of the Commonwealth summit, drawing cheers from his fellow leaders.

London: Prime Minister Theresa May apologized to representatives from 12 Caribbean countries on Tuesday over recent harsh treatment by immigration bureaucrats of people who arrived in Britain as children after World War Two.
The “Windrush generation,” whose parents were invited to Britain to plug labor shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, have been caught up in a tightening of immigration rules overseen by May in 2012 when she was interior minister.
“I want to apologize to you today because we are genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused,” May told leaders and diplomats from the Caribbean countries, who were in London for a summit of Commonwealth heads of government.
The scandal over the mistreatment of Windrush immigrants from what had been British colonies has cast a shadow over the summit, which is supposed to strengthen Britain’s ties to fellow Commonwealth countries as it prepares to leave the European Union.
Named after a ship which brought migrants from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands in 1948, the Windrush generation enjoyed a special status but that has been eroded over the years by successive immigration reforms.
The 2012 rule changes have led to some people being wrongly identified as illegal immigrants, asked to provide documentary evidence of their life in Britain they had never previously been required to keep, and in some cases denied rights, detained and threatened with deportation.
Interior minister Amber Rudd said on Monday that a special team would be set up within her ministry to resolve issues, and May told the Caribbean representatives that she would instruct that team to work swiftly and efficiently.
Earlier, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness highlighted the Windrush issue at a plenary session of the Commonwealth summit, drawing cheers from his fellow leaders.
“Citizens from former colonies, particularly in the West Indies, have migrated to Great Britain where they have significantly contributed to the building and enrichment of the country,” Holness said.
“Now these persons are not able to claim their place as citizens,” he said. May was on stage as he spoke, having delivered her own speech just before.
Holness said Caribbean leaders wanted to see speedy implementation of the proposed solution. “It is only fair. It will lead to security, certainly for those who have been affected, and it is the kind of inclusive prosperity for which we stand as Commonwealth peoples,” he said.


Boko Haram suicide attack kills eight at mosque

Updated 20 min 8 sec ago
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Boko Haram suicide attack kills eight at mosque

KANO: Eight people were killed at a mosque in northeast Nigeria on Monday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, a civilian militia member and a local resident said.
The blast happened in the Mainari area of Konduga, in Borno state, said Ibrahim Liman, from the civilian militia force assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram.
“The male bomber walked into the mosque at about 5:15 am (0415 GMT) while prayers were on and exploded, killing eight worshippers and injuring five others,” he told AFP.
“Seven of the victims died in the mosque while another died on the way to (the Borno state capital) Maiduguri.”
Suicide bombings against “soft” civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations are the hallmark of the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau.
Many of the bombers used are young women and girls. Liman said the latest attack appeared to be carried out by a man in his early 20s.
Umar Goni, who lives in Konduga, said he was on his way to the mosque when the blast occurred and he helped to rescue victims with members of the civilian volunteer force.
“We pulled out seven dead bodies and six injured worshippers. One of the six injured died on the way to hospital,” he added.
The bomber was disguised as a worshipper, he said, adding: “There was no way anybody could have known his mission.”
The latest attack comes as Nigeria’s government is encouraging people displaced by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency to return home.
But aid agencies providing food, health care, clean water and shelter across the conflict-ravaged region have warned that security has not improved.
Last week, at least six traders were killed when a convoy of lorries under military escort were ambushed in Borno state near the border with Cameroon.
There have also been a number of attacks on military convoys and bases in Borno and neighboring Yobe state, with undisclosed casualties.
Soldiers and civilians have also been targeted in separate attacks in neighboring Chad and Niger.