Thursday, October 21, 2010
A few weeks before private security companies are scheduled to sign onto a voluntary code of conduct comes news today of a death onboard a flight of a man being deported from the United Kingdom to Angola. He was 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.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)