Often overlooked in representations and campaigns against Hostile Environment targeting of specific population groups, is the extremely poor quality to thoroughgoing incompetence of those carrying out the identifying and persecuting of those population groups. The question that must be asked is, has such poor quality work or incompetence been the outcome of inappropriate, poorly trained and briefed Hostile Environment implementing staff in the Home Office/UKVI, OR have such outcomes been strategically planned, and as such poorly trained implementing staff a necessity for this planning to be successfully delivered. We look at three examples:
The Windrush generation landing cards shredding scandal:
The main feature of this major scandal that thanks to the unstated discriminatory strategy against the Windrush Generation has set back probably at least two decades race relations in regard to our West Indian/Caribbean states Windrush Generation citizens, was clearly the landing cards shredding component. This can either be regarded, as is impossible to deny in any credible way (and we must remember the rider that goes out on UKVI/Home Office decisions on cases documents, concerning ‘Factual accuracy of statements recorded in this letter has been assessed for immigration purposes only’) as a deliberate policy linked to the unstated targeting of particular population groups at very high strategic/executive decision-making level in the Home Office, or else a spectacular example of clerical incompetence over a considerable period of time. Neither option is acceptable, and the former, almost certainly most probable explanation indicates culpability of almost certainly perceived criminal intent kinds (given the awareness of the human consequences that those responsible must have been aware of, and have been in many deaths and extreme distress of great numbers of people, that subsequently resulted).
The Gurkha DNA scandal:
The significance of this scandal where the performance of Hostile Environment, Home Office group, implementing officials was concerned, was the fact that there appears to have been complete lack of awareness of those undertaking this subsequently revealed as unlawful submitting of community members to DNA tests, on the very nature of who an actual Gurkha is. DNA tests relate to bloodlines and ethnicity, not to status linked to a particular occupation. In terms of ethnicity/specific race-related genes, it is certain that the scientists pressed into contributing to the chaos of the Hostile Environment at operational implementation level, would have required a detailed ethnologists knowledge of which peoples belong to the Nepali population group associated with the name ‘Gurkha.’ There is currently no knowledge in the public domain on what detailed ethnicity brief the Home Office has or almost certainly Not provided to such DNA tests implementing scientists.
A disastrous situation, but one far removed from the cares of those who came up with the strategy at the highest levels in the Home Office/Whitehall on selecting this particular group to target, and for which the former Home Secretary has apologised in the House of Commons to the scandal’s victims. More importantly, Not having a credible and robust brief, those responsible will have missed the major defect in this rather low strategy. Namely that Gurkha is in terms of any British citizenship entitlement, not related to ethnicity based on genes, but not based on ethnicity at all, but rather that being a Gurkha is a very specific status related to undertaking and passing a set of gruelling endurance and related capabilities tests IN Nepal. In other words family members of the true Gurkhas, as defined by that criteria, which is the only one recognised by the British Army and the given true Gurkhas themselves relates in the context of the rights of settlement & citizenship accorded in very specific family relationships contexts, is one that DNA is effectively an irrelevance for.
It is a matter of marriage certificates and birth certificates – something that the Home Office has in pursuing the illegal DNA tests, totally, through the inexperience and hasty and very wrong rationales of those instituting and implementing the latter, failed to notice because they hadn’t taken the trouble to research the key defining characteristics of this particular community.
The anti-LGBT Hostile Environment phenomenon – LGBT safety & human rights countries profiles:
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts deem it is safe to do so. “Each case is considered on its individual merits against relevant case law and published country information, and all decisions on claims based on sexual orientation are reviewed by an experienced caseworker.
The Hostile Environment anti-LGBT dimension provides perhaps the largest scale instance of very poor-quality work instituted under clear central high-level direction within the Home Office & FCO UKVI sections. In terms of poorly carried out preparation of the anti-LGBT Hostile Environment a particularly serious failing was the Home Office & FCO assessment of human rights and safety risk status country by country.
Elsewhere we have cited the equality officer of the now closed Verne IRC, calling in a local area LGBT community organisation to ask for help in learning where different nationalities and races & cultures stand on LGBT human rights, safety and inclusion at the core essential social and cultural levels. This BECAUSE THE HOME OFFICE HAD NOT PROVIDED HER AND COLLEAGUES AT THE IRC WITH THIS ESSENTIAL INFORMATION (essential because of those being in the IRC in close proximity that held extremely divergent views, to dangerous extent, on sexual & gender minorities). The approach taken on given country LGBT human rights & safety status and known record, if professional, objective/balanced would have self-evidently needed to meet the two following criteria – with the latter the more important if serious about providing case assessments that placed safety first and being thorough and professional:
a) What the legal stance and constitution of the given state (and to what extent LGBT community protections or rights in either of the latter have an actual solid record of implementation) was on same-sex love, LGBT human rights including on marriage & civil partnerships, on sexual relations between two people of the same sex, on gender minorities, and on prosecutions (and the degrees of seriousness and severity of the latter) in regard to both LGBT context interpersonal relations & behaviour, and in regard to those carrying out anti-LGBT behaviour or verbally expressing or promoting homophobic, biphobic, transphobic views from mild to murder and violence inciting.
b) What the prevailing/commonplace contemporary and traditional cultural attitudes in general society are towards same-sex love, sexual & gender minorities, and towards those who hold and enact moderate to extreme homophobic, biphobic, transphobic views, including particularly by key figures and leaders religious, political, secular.
As we know, only the very first part of criteria a) – which does NOT include consideration of or thorough research on the degree of LGBT community legal and constitution-based protections or rights have a substantial, credible record of implementation – have been applied by the Home Office & FCO. This has emerged time and again from Home Office civil servants from caseworkers & ECOs to UKVI Chief Operating Officer & Director General levels, as well as in public statements in response to LGBT abuse scandals, and in decision & reasons documents. All the other criteria included in a) and most of all of those in b) have never been considered, and no matter how much these much more important than notional legal protection factors are, the UKVI has been resolute in effectively ignoring all of these.
To follow such a course (more than possibly enshrined in an LGBT section of the UKVI ‘Operating Mandate’) indicates not only contempt for LGBT community members, LGBT safety, human rights including same-sex couples rights to family life, but also the legal obligations of the Equality Act 2010 and international codes and conventions on human rights; such conduct and the decision-making behind it remain incontrovertibly de-facto homophobic, biphobic, Transphobic in spirit and in detail.
A further proof of the unprofessional, biased against actual LGBT community members basis on which country by country information on LGBT rights was gathered is the fact that as we know in the case of Nepal and countless other countries, the Home Office & FCO are not known to have any record of candid meetings with the leaders of national INDEPENDENT LGBT human rights movements organisations on the project to provide information on their given country for UK Immigration visa & immigration purposes.
One can as with the Windrush landing cards shredding scandal, rightly say that where the imbalanced, unprofessional criteria developed by the architects of the Hostile Environment treatment of LGBT communities was concerned that the exclusion of the all the – from a safety perspective in particular – essential criteria on human rights & safety were concerned, that these exclusions were Not accidental, and as such those architects knew they were setting up the circumstances where innocent lives would be lost, destroyed, placed in grave danger. Something as wicked as the consequences that must have been known by those shredding the Windrush Generation landing cards.