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20 June 2019

Permanent People’s Tribunal its verdict on the state of migrant rights in the UK to the Prime Minister

On Monday 3rd June a group of supporters of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) on Violations of the Rights of Migrants presented the ‘deliberation’ of the jury which sat at the London hearing to the Prime Minister at No 10 Downing Street.

The PPT is an international human rights organisation which began its work back the 1960s, looking at crimes committed during the course of the war in Vietnam.  It now has a full-time secretariat based in Rome and works to promote inquiries into allegations of abuse of human rights.

In July 2017 it launched a session with the formal title of “Violations with impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples” in Barcelona.  Its programme of work involved evidence gathering sessions which would take place in Spain, France, Italy and the UK.

The UK session took place in Friends Meeting House, London, over the weekend 3-4 November 2018.  The hearing had been prepared by a group of co-ordinators which involved representatives of Unite the Union, Global Justice Now, Institute for Race Relations, Migrants’ Rights Network, and the domestic workers association Waling Waling amongst others.

The session received over 40 submissions from organisations detailing their experience of violation of the rights of migrants, including the those who had suffered as a consequence of the government’s ‘hostile environment policies.  

Over 200 people attend the public sessions of the London hearing. A six-person jury, chaired by Professor Bridget Anderson of Bristol University, considered the evidence.  Its deliberation on the indictment of UK policy runs to 25 pages and supports the accusation that UK immigration control policy is guilty of the systematic violation of the human rights of migrants and refugees.

Having presented the findings of the London hearing to the government the co-ordinator group is continuing to work with the PPT secretariat to build an international platform supporting the rights of migrants which will draw on the work in France, Italy, Spain and the UK.  It plans to extend this to other countries and a meeting with representatives of groups to further this work was held in Marrakesh, Morocco earlier this year.

In the UK the coordinator’s group will continue to work with the organisations which submitted evidence to the London hearing and will look to extend this to involve other bodies with involvement in the area of migrant and refugee rights.

For more information about the London Hearing of the PPT, including the full deliberation of the jury, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PPTMigrantRefugeeLondonHearing/?ref=page_internal.