A contractor working for the Home Office has suspended employees who were responsible for defacing the word “Israel” on a birth certificate.

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A Home Office contractor has suspended staff and initiated an investigation after allegations that the term “Israel” was altered on a birth certificate for a baby during a passport application process.

The Paris-based contractor Sopra Steria said it was “shocked and saddened” by the allegations and had started a “full investigation into the handling of the documentation and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness”.

The company verified that employees were suspended, but did not disclose the number of workers who were disciplined.

The family in question has requested for the individuals responsible to be fired and are said to be preparing to file a lawsuit against the company. “I was filled with horror when I saw it for the first time,” shared Israel, the father of the baby, in an interview with Sky News.

When questioned about the increasing anti-semitism in the UK, he expressed, “The current situation is unfavorable. Being Jewish in the UK is extremely difficult. And unfortunately, it is not improving, but rather worsening.”

A photo was shared on X by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, showcasing a defaced and ripped document in which Israel, the birth country of the baby’s father, had been crossed out.

The Civil Aviation Authority requested a clarification from the Home Office and stated: “Trust in the government is significantly diminished and needs to be regained.”

On Wednesday, James Cleverly issued an apology to the family and stated that the government will not tolerate any form of antisemitism. In a post on X, the home secretary expressed regret for any offense caused and announced an urgent investigation into a defaced birth certificate.

“While we investigate the situation, our business associate has temporarily suspended certain employees. This behavior is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated as it is considered antisemitic.”

Sopra Steria has issued a statement, stating that one of their service delivery partners has temporarily suspended employees while an investigation is underway. They express shock and sadness at the reports and are collaborating with the Home Office to ensure proper measures are taken.

The CAA stated that the home secretary has issued an appropriate apology on behalf of the department, and we have conveyed that apology to the victims. We praise the home secretary for taking prompt and decisive action in response to this unacceptable incident.

It is unacceptable for a person to receive their child’s birth certificate with parts of it torn and the parent’s place of birth crossed out simply because it is the Jewish state. This action goes against ethical standards.

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“This behavior is considered severe misconduct and the company must take action to remove the individual responsible.”

In 2020, Sopra Steria disclosed that it had received a five-year contract from the Home Office to provide a contemporary, electronic system for validating and converting passport application forms and accompanying documentation securely. They also mentioned that this selection was a continuation of their successful 11-year collaboration with the UK government’s Passport Office.

The company specializing in technology, with its main UK office located in Hemel Hempstead, announced that it will offer the service in collaboration with Iron Mountain, a company that provides storage and information management services. This service will be available at two locations in the towns of Hertfordshire and Corby, Northamptonshire.

At the time, the company stated that the task includes scanning, verifying, and uploading a digital version of “important papers needed for British passport applications.” This is done in order to process the documents and then return them to the customers.

Iron Mountain has been reached out to for a statement.

Source: theguardian.com

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