Nigerian deportees were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment, says Irish Refugee Council

Posted On: 14 January 2011



Wednesday, 12 January 2010:

The Irish Refugee Council along with refugee, anti-racism, human rights, children’s rights and migrant groups are demonstrating at the gates of the Dáil today (12/1/11) at 12 noon for an end to degrading deportation practices.  The demonstration has arisen from the Irish Refugee Council’s call for an independent inquiry into alleged inhumane and degrading treatment during an attempted deportation to Nigeria last month.

In a letter dated 22nd December 2010 to the Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern TD, the Irish Refugee Council called for an independent inquiry into the treatment of 34 Nigerian nationals, including 12 children, and 1 Irish citizen child, who were returned to Dublin from Athens following a technical fault on a Frontex* deportation plane. The Council also called for a halt to all deportations pending an independent review of deportation procedures.

Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council, says: “These people are not criminals or a danger to society.  They are men and women, some with young children. The Minister for Justice has a responsibility to ensure that their basic human rights are upheld throughout the deportation process, and a duty to investigate any claims of ill-treatment of individuals while in the care of the state.

“From the testimonies we have collected, it appears that the group were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment. We want to see this inquiry leading to a review of deportation practice and procedures.”

The eight women, 13 children, and 14 men endured long delays, inadequate food and limited access to sanitary facilities until their deportation was aborted in Greece and they were returned to Ireland.  Evidence collected by the Irish Refugee Council from the deportees includes the handcuffing and possible sedation of a mother of 2 young children, one of whom is an Irish citizen. Ireland was also the only country of the several EU countries aboard the Frontex flight to deport children. 

“We are demonstrating today because, thus far, the Minister has failed to adequately respond to the concerns we raised in our letter of 22 December,” adds Sue Conlan.






  • Groups supporting the campaign:
    AkiDwA, mnesty International, Anti-Racism Ireland, Barnardos, Catholic Bishops’ Refugee and Migrant Project, Children’s Rights Alliance, Doras Luimni (Limerick), FLAC, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Irish Penal Reform Trust, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Nasc – the Irish Immigrant Support Centre (Cork), The Integration Centre, UNICEF
  • *Frontex is an EU agency based in Warsaw which coordinates the operational cooperation between Member States in the field of border security.   Frontex also assists Member States and Schengen-associated countries in the co-ordination of return flights and repatriation activities.  For further information see