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12 June 2020
Equality and Human Rights Commission to launch review of Windrush scandal

Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

Equality and Human Rights Commission to launch review of Windrush scandal

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will use its legal powers to launch a review into whether the Home Office complied with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies on the Windrush generation.

The review will look at whether the Home Office met its duties under the Equality Act when it denied services and deported a number of Commonwealth citizens who had been invited to work and live in the UK.

It will consider how the department “understood, monitored and reviewed the impact of placing increasingly onerous documentation requirements on the Windrush generation” and make recommendations on designing future immigration policies.

Under the Equality Act, public sector organisations have a duty to show “due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.”

Using its legal powers, the EHRC will examine whether the Home Office did so. A report will be published when the investigation is complete.

The Home Office has until September to respond to the EHRC’s terms of reference for the review.

David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The Windrush scandal and hostile environment policies have cast a shadow across the UK and its values. We are working with the Home Office to determine what must change so that this shameful period of our history is not repeated.

“The impact of Covid-19 and the killing of George Floyd by US police officers has resulted in urgent calls for action to end the systemic and entrenched race inequalities that exist in our country. The law requires that all public bodies must promote inclusivity and opportunity by considering the impact their policies have on ethnic minorities. We have long called for Government to produce a comprehensive race equality strategy to tackle these injustices. This assessment and the Home Office’s response to the recommendations in Wendy Williams’ report will focus on the importance of PSED to put our country’s values on track.

“This work is part of our long-term strategy to tackle structural inequalities in Britain by ensuring public bodies use the PSED more effectively. In this tenth year of the Equality Act, we will work with Government to put equality at the heart of its decision-making so that everyone has a fair chance to thrive.”

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