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Legal and Human Rights

In Defense of Justice

“Defending human rights is not a political stance, but a commitment to justice. Targeting those who uphold the rule of law weakens the very foundation of our democracy.”

Black Wall St. MediaContributor

Prominent Groups Rally Behind Top Immigration Lawyer, Jacqueline McKenzie, Against Government Criticisms

In Defence of Justice

Open Letter to the Prime Minister:

Esteemed Organisations:
The Society of Black Lawyers,
The Society of Asian Lawyers,
The Association of Muslim Lawyers,
Operation Black Vote,
Blak Sox,
Barac UK,

Express profound concern regarding the Government’s derogatory remarks referring to immigration attorneys as “lefty lawyers”. Such characterisations are deeply concerning when these professionals are bound by their duty to advocate for and prioritise their clients.

The current administration’s narrative, painting these lawyers in a disparaging light, endangers professionals like the esteemed Human Rights Lawyer, Jacqueline McKenzie. It’s deeply troubling to observe her representation in media as the attorney “halting the boats”.

It has come to our attention that a potentially misleading dossier has been circulated amongst prominent publications, including the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sun, and the Daily Express. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick further intensified the issue, hinting at the identity of a particular attorney in a radio segment without directly naming them, thereby exacerbating the situation.

Repeated instances where the Government, through its representatives, perpetuates animosity against minorities is distressing and counterproductive.

It’s confounding why the Conservative Government would choose to target Ms. McKenzie, especially considering she has taken precautionary measures due to threatening communications she’s received post-publication of these contentious articles.

Ms. McKenzie has dedicated a significant portion of her career addressing Windrush cases. Moreover, she has collaborated with Sajid Javid on the Windrush Learned Lessons Review. Her targeted vilification raises several questions about the government’s intentions.

The stark reality is that the government, with its provocative stance, oversees an overwhelmed system with a significant backlog of 166,100 cases awaiting initial adjudication. Most migrants, as per the Geneva Convention, have a legal right to seek asylum, with a majority proving successful. A significant number of decisions made by the Home Office are overturned upon appeal by Immigration Judges.

While we appreciate the statements by the Law Society and Bar Council, we stress the importance of further protective measures for human rights attorneys. We stand in solidarity with Jacqueline McKenzie and her peers who tirelessly advocate for those marginalised and adversely affected by certain government policies.

Peter Herbert O.B.E, Chair, Society of Black Lawyers notes:
“Jacqueline McKenzie’s unwarranted targeting is not only defamatory but perilous. The government’s agenda, as evident in their approach to the Rwandan deportation scheme, is misaligned with the principles of the Geneva Convention.”

Frances Swaine, Solicitor emphasizes:
“The cornerstone of a democratic society is the rule of law, where equity and fairness prevail. When a government and media collectively vilify a legal professional for upholding these principles, the repercussions are far-reaching.”

Zita Holborne, Chair of BARAC UK – Human Rights Campaigner states:
“Ms. McKenzie’s commendable efforts, especially concerning the Windrush Scandal, highlight her dedication. The government’s unwarranted aggression towards her and similar professionals is not only jeopardizing their safety but is reflective of racial biases.”

In unity,

Viv Ahmun, Founder (Blaksox),
Peter Herbert OBE, Barrister and Retired Judge,
Zita Holbourne, Barac UK (Chair),
Lee Jasper, Chair (Alliance for Police Accountability),
Attiq Malik (Society of Asian Lawyers),
Frances Swaine, Solicitor.

Black Wall St. MediaContributor

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