20 000 Zimbabweans face deportation from UK
More than 20 000 Zimbabwean asylum seekers whose applications were rejected could be deported by the end of the year if plans by the British coalition government are pushed through.
This week the UK Border Agency sent a fact finding mission to Harare with the express mandate of assessing whether it was safe to return ‘failed asylum seekers.’ The UK government is arguing that a coalition government in Zimbabwe has brought relative peace and stability.
Andrew Jones an official at the British Embassy in Harare said that the fact finding mission would be used by the UK Asylum Tribunal in October. “The aim of the mission is to ensure that the UK Border Agency has the most up to date information.’’
The deportation of Zimbabweans was frozen in November 2008 by the Court of Appeal decision in the country guidance case of RN (Zimbabwe) – which was reaffirmed in July.
The judges said “those at risk on return to Zimbabwe on account of imputed political opinion are no longer restricted to those who are perceived to be members or supporters of the MDC, but include anyone who is unable to demonstrate support for or loyalty to the regime or Zanu PF.”
Activists insist however that the coalition government in Zimbabwe has failed to stop human rights abuses. The MDC Information Department is documenting abductions, torture, harassment and other forms of intimidation everyday around the constitutional outreach meetings.