Airline refuses to deport refugees

Although this isn’t specifically a gender issue, I can’t help but draw attention to this piece of good news reported in The Independent. An airline called XL Airways is refusing to take part in the forced removal of failed asylum seekers.

The XL email, sent on 12 September, said: “We had a contract with the Government along with other carriers, for a range of flying. Under this contract we operated one flight in February to DR Congo as part of this contract, without full understanding of the political dimensions involved.

“Our chief executive [Phillip Wyatt] had made it quite clear to all concerned that we will not be operating any further flights of this nature … We are not neutral on the issue and have sympathy for all dispossessed persons in the world, hence our stance.”

The Refugee Women’s Resource Project highlights the gender-specific problems that female asylum seekers face – in 2001, 16,000, or 22% of people applying for asylum in the UK were women.