Another killing in British detention: Who was Alois Dvorzac?

Posted on Wednesday 19th March 2014

The UK immigration apparatus killed an 84-year-old Canadian citizen. The human story behind the oldest victim of Britain's dangerous obsession with punishing migrants.

Nando SigonaDr Nando Sigona, Birmingham Fellow at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham, and Research Associate at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, recently wrote an article for 'Open Democracy' which asked the question 'Who was Alois Dvorzac?'. He writes:

"He died in handcuffs while detained at a UK privately-run and publicly-funded detention centre – an 84-year-old Canadian with Alzheimer’s. But who was the man behind the tragedy? Why does a simple question like this rarely get answered? Why do we accept that immigrants are only talked about as numbers — how many are detained, how many are deported, how many ‘net migrants’ exist this quarter and the next, how much they contribute or not to the economy, how much they (or we) cost to the UK welfare system?

Here you have an old engineer originally from Slovenia, who fought the Nazi occupation in Yugoslavia and moved to Canada after the war, an elderly widower who was travelling back to Slovenia to meet relatives and, unfortunately for him, had to change plane at Gatwick, UK. He never made it to Slovenia, Alois Dvorzac died in the care of Harmondsworth immigration detention centre, and was not even an immigrant to the UK."

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