Home UK Caribbean Diaspora News Windrush Victim’s Son Outraged by Home Office’s DNA Test Demand

Windrush Victim’s Son Outraged by Home Office’s DNA Test Demand

The windrush scandal continues

by Hill Davenport Team
1 comment

In a disquieting twist, the son of a Windrush scandal victim has revealed that the Home Office asked him to undergo a DNA test to prove his relationship with his father as part of his compensation application. Dijoun Jhagroo-Bryan described receiving the demand as “outrageous” and deeply upsetting.

The letter from the Home Office asked for additional evidence of Jhagroo-Bryan’s connection to his father, Anthony Bryan, who narrowly escaped deportation in 2017 after living in Britain for fifty years. This incident is part of the wider Windrush scandal that exposed the harsh and often brutal realities of the UK’s hostile immigration policies.

Human rights lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie, who represents hundreds of Windrush victims, condemned the Home Office’s request as “intrusive and traumatic.” She expressed her shock at the demand for DNA evidence, noting that it seemed unprecedented among Windrush cases and indicative of racial bias. “The treatment of black people by the Home Office is abysmal,” McKenzie stated, adding that she believes racism is at the heart of such demands.

Anthony Bryan, now 66, has been through a harrowing journey since his wrongful arrest in 2017. Despite living in London since he was eight years old, Bryan was detained twice and almost deported to Jamaica. His story, which highlights the grave injustices faced by the Windrush generation, was dramatized by the BBC in 2020. Bryan, who suffers from a serious lung condition, finally accepted a compensation offer in 2023 after five years of constant setbacks and delays.

Jhagroo-Bryan, 39, applied for compensation citing long-term trauma and financial losses, noting that his own children were affected by not being able to see their grandfather during his detention. “I’ve suffered watching my dad being held in prison and I’ve suffered going through the steps that I needed to do in order to get him to stay in the UK,” he shared.

The Home Office letter, seen by BBC News, suggested that Jhagroo-Bryan could voluntarily provide additional evidence, including post-natal hospital records, school records, or DNA evidence. This demand, though technically voluntary, felt coercive and degrading to Jhagroo-Bryan. “It’s outrageous. Me submitting a DNA test doesn’t change what I’ve gone through,” he said.

Anthony Bryan was equally dismayed. “They’re at fault and still we have to fight this and fight that, do a DNA test and get the midwife,” he remarked. “It’s degrading and, once again, it feels like the Home Office is insulting your intelligence.”

Following media scrutiny, the Home Office clarified that Jhagroo-Bryan would not be required to submit DNA evidence. A spokesperson stated, “Claims for the Windrush Compensation Scheme are considered on their individual merits. When necessary, further information may be requested to ensure we can issue the maximum award available, at the earliest point possible and we will support individuals on how to provide further evidence.”

Despite this retraction, the episode underscores the ongoing struggles faced by the Windrush generation and their descendants. The government’s 2018 apology for the wrongful treatment of these individuals seems hollow in light of such continued bureaucratic insensitivity. As McKenzie pointed out, Windrush victims are being held to different standards compared to those affected by other scandals, such as the Post Office, and it raises serious questions about systemic racism within the Home Office.

The fight for justice and dignity for the Windrush generation continues, highlighting the deep flaws in a system that, even after numerous apologies and promises, still subjects its victims to humiliating and unnecessary demands.


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1 comment

Simon Johnson May 15, 2024 - 5:18 pm

Seems like there is no justice for black people in the UK. Even when the institution is at fault, it still wishes to frustrate the process of compensation with these ridiculous demands in an attempt to thwart the process. Shame on the Home Office!


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