We oppose British Airways’ (BA) complicity with deporting people from the UK.
As a sponsor of Brighton Pride, BA are keen to present their company as an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community in our fight for freedom. But the presence and sponsorship of companies that profit from deportations is an affront to the vision of freedom Pride represents. It is an added insult that many of those deported on British Airways are LGBTQIA+ people who should be marching with us on the parade but instead are brutally rounded up and ejected from the UK to face poverty, persecution and in some cases death.
On 4 August – during Brighton and Hove Pride – LGBT+ activists occupied the British Airways i360 while reading out testimonies from people facing deportations to highlight the airline’s complicity in the Home Offices deportations.
Earlier this week we published an open letter, signed by campaigners, LGBTQIA+ performers and MPs including Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, criticising British Airways for sponsoring Brighton and Hove Pride while deporting migrants.
Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC) have launched a petition calling for BA to end their collaboration with the Home Office in deporting migrants, which now has more than 50,000 signatures.
All Out – a global movement for LGBTQIA+ rights – have also launched a petition calling for BA to stop allowing their aircrafts to be used to deport LGBTQIA+ people seeking asylum and all other migrants.
In June, Virgin Atlantic announced an end to all involuntary deportations on their flights after similar pressure from campaigners in the lead up to Pride in London. Virgin Atlantic, which sponsors London Pride, promised to stop involuntary deportations, proving that it is possible to take a stand against the Home Office’s “hostile environment”.
By providing space for deportations on their flights, British Airways are having a devastating impact on communities across the UK. Not only is the airline callously putting people’s lives in danger, it is also making their staff unwillingly complicit in the brutality of the UK’s “hostile environment” policy.
Sponsoring Brighton and Hove Pride is not compatible with supporting brutal and unjust deportations. British Airways should join Virgin Atlantic in committing to end all forced deportations on their flights.
NO ONE IS ILLEGAL. END DEPORTATIONS.
Take a stand!