Monday, 26 December 2005

Military Dictatorship in Zimbabwe

Trevor Ncube, one of Zimbabwean President Robert G. Mugabe's most vocal critics, says Zimbabwe is now effectively being ruled by the military and the intelligence agencies.

Ncube publishes South Africa's Mail & Guardian, and the last remaining independent newspapers in Zimbabwe, The Independent and the Zimbabwe Standard.

He says: "Mugabe has no intention to leave (the presidency), and in fulfillment of that he now relies more and more on the military.

"In other words, we have a military dictatorship in place."

In an interview with the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (Dec. 13, 2005), Trevor Ncube said it is clear that Mugabe is not running the country.

"Remember after Operation Murambatsvina. It was revealed that it was the Central Intelligence Organization that was behind it," he said.

Operation Murambatsvina, which translates into English as "Operation Drive Out Rubbish," made between 700,000 and 2.3 million Zimbabweans homeless when, beginning in May 2005, armed police, soldiers and Zanu-PF militias moved into opposition Movement for Democratic Change (M.D.C.) strongholds in towns and cities and razed thousands of homes and small-scale businesses to the ground. The operation destroyed over 500,000 informal and small-scale businesses and led to the arbitrary arrest of more than 30,000 innocent people. A number of women and children were also killed in the process.

Civic groups and the opposition M.D.C. argue that the government's main reason for Operation Murambatsvina was to punish the urban poor for voting for the opposition during the March 2005 parliamentary elections.

Ncube identifies Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, Immigration Director Elasto Mugwadi and Army Commander Constantine Chiwengwa as part of the core group of people who are now running the country.

In December 2005, Ncube and two other critics and opponents of the Mugabe regime, had their passports confiscated amid revelations that the regime was restricting travel rights of its critics and opponents to stop them from "badmouthing" the government abroad.

Between 15 and 64 human rights activists and critics of the regime have been placed on a list of people who are banned from traveling abroad and whose passports are to be seized "with immediate effect" if they try to either leave or enter the country.

"This operation, it's dictated by the 'securocrats,' who are the real people running this country. They include Tobaiwa Mudede and Elasto Mugwadi — but the people pulling the strings are military men.

"Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba, 24 hours after the seizure of my passport, was adamant nothing like that could happen in Zimbabwe," Ncube says. "Attorney General Sobhuza Gula-Ndebele himself was also in the dark. He said it could not happen because there is no legislation in place to allow the state to seize people's passports."

Ncube points out that when civil structures fail to deliver, the military and intelligence agencies take over.

"That is why Army Commander Constantine Chiwengwa is now being touted as a possible presidential successor," Ncube says.

This article was first published in the World Press Review.

Saturday, 17 December 2005

Religious Leaders Urge British Government to Stop Victimizing Asylum Seekers

Forty seven religious leaders and heads of Christian churches and denominations have called on the British government to change the policies that force asylum seekers into destitution and homelessness.

In a petition published in The Times (Dec. 3, 2005), the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu; the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, the Rev. Patrick O'Donoghue; chairperson of the Methodist Church's Oxford & Leicester District, the Rev. Alison Tomlin and their fellow bishops and church leaders said it was inhuman and unacceptable that some people are left homeless and destitute by government policies.

They observed that there are people in every city in Britain who the state has made destitute and who are living on donated food because they have no other means of supporting themselves.

The church leaders expressed concern that the threat of destitution is being used by the state as a way of pressuring people to leave Britain.

They castigated the British government for abandoning its international moral and legal responsibilities to welcome those fleeing persecution and adversity from other parts of the world and provide them with social security.

"There are many people seeking asylum who have their cases refused but have no safe route to return or whose travel documents cause logistical problems for removal. There are also many cases where people are unjustly refused asylum.

"All those within our borders — including people seeking asylum — should have the opportunity to help themselves and society through paid employment. Where this is not possible, people seeking asylum, whatever their status, should be given the necessary rights to food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

"Refused asylum seekers are still human, and deserve to be treated the same, as we would expect if we had to flee to another country," the church leaders emphasized.

They urged the British government to allow people seeking asylum to sustain themselves and contribute to society through paid work, and where this is not possible, to re-instate "refused" asylum seekers' entitlement to benefits until such a time as they may be removed.

The petition was signed by archbishops, bishops, and ministers of religion from the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist Union, the Church of Ireland, the Church of Wales, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church, church-led racial justice and refugee agencies, and the co-presidents of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland — Sister Eluned Williams (Methodist Church) and the Rev. Nezlin Sterling (national and international secretary, New Testament Assembly).

Britain's immigration minister, Tony McNulty, in a response also published in The Times (Dec. 6, 2005), denied that current government policies lead asylum seekers whose applications have been unsuccessful into destitution.

"Where there is no viable route of return or there are problems with documentation, the government does provide accommodation and essential living needs. Where there are no children involved this provision is conditional on co-operation with the voluntary return process, which we are also beginning to impose in a small number of family cases," Tony McNulty said.

A recent investigation by the leading children's charity, Barnardo's, and the Refugee Children's Consortium revealed that the children of asylum seekers were being harmed by the British government's asylum and immigration policy.

Barnardo's and the Refugee Children's Consortium investigated 33 local authorities, including 18 that have been taking part in the government's pilot implementation of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004 and found that the removal of basic support is leaving families destitute.

Section 9 of the Act removes or significantly restricts the welfare entitlement of families who have reached the end of the asylum process and who have "failed to take reasonable steps" to leave the U.K.

Some 116 families, with 36 adult dependants and 216 children, have been affected by the government's pilot implementation of Section 9. Those affected include 25 families from Pakistan, 16 from Somalia, 8 from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and 10 from Zimbabwe.

The families affected are reluctant to return to their countries of origin because the countries are unsafe. Many of the families are at risk of arrest, torture, detention and death at the hands of agents of the state should they return.

In a test case in October, three judges in the British Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled that a Zimbabwean asylum seeker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would be at risk if he were sent back to Harare. One of the results of this ruling is that the British Home Office cannot return Zimbabweans to that country because to do so would be in violation of the tribunal's ruling.

Nancy Kelley, who authored the Barnardo's report on the investigation, says: "Refugee children often come to this country traumatized by what they have seen. Unfortunately arrival in the U.K. rarely marks the beginning of a safe and comfortable life; indeed they are likely to experience continued stress, hunger, poor health and extreme poverty. Whatever the intention of Section 9, it is being implemented in a way that runs the risk of causing life long damage to children and families who are already among the most vulnerable people in society."

McNulty conceded that many unsuccessful asylum-seekers who have exhausted all rights of appeal drop out of sight of the British government rather than agree to be deported back to the countries from which they fled.

"Instead, we hear that they are destitute or living on food parcels," McNulty said.

He added that the British government set out its proposals for clarifying the migration system in the five-year strategy published last February. McNulty believes that managed migration is a valuable source of skills and labor for the British economy.

"However, entering the country for economic reasons is not the same as seeking asylum and it is important to maintain the distinction between the two. This is why we do not generally allow asylum-seekers to work," he said.

The petition by church leaders coincides with the launch of a nationwide campaign by the Refugee Council against the British government's policies, which push asylum seekers into destitution, and for asylum seekers to be granted the right to work.

The Refugee Council, the largest organization of its kind in Britain works with asylum seekers and refugees to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed.

It says that this winter thousands of asylum seekers in Britain will be forced to survive without any money for food, shelter and the everyday things people take for granted.

"They will be sleeping rough or crashing on the floor at friends' houses. They will be relying on food handouts or eating in soup kitchens set up by churches or charities.

"This misery is a direct consequence of government policy. Ministers appear to be deliberately forcing asylum seekers into destitution in order to drive asylum numbers down," the Refugee Council says.

Section 55 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act of 2004 deprives asylum seekers of any support if they did not make their claim immediately upon arrival in Britain. This policy caused suffering to thousands of people, many of who went on to have their asylum claims accepted. Campaigns and legal action by the Refugee Council, Shelter and other organizations stopped the government from enforcing it. However, Section 55 has not been scrapped.

Section 9 allows the government to take all benefits away from asylum seeker families and possibly to take their children into care if they don't cooperate with efforts to remove them from the U.K., while Section 4 of the same Act means "failed" asylum seekers can only get basic-level support — bed and board in a hostel — if they sign up to say they are willing to be sent back to the country from which they fled.

"These policies are only the most glaring examples of where the government forces asylum seekers into poverty. In fact, the vast majority of asylum seekers are very poor, as they have to live off a benefit set at 30% below standard income support. That means a single person getting by on less than £40 a week.

"What makes it worse is that many asylum seekers have qualifications, skills and experience that we need — but the government won't allow them to work and instead keeps people in poverty and destitution. It is such a waste. A waste of lives, a waste of skills," the Refugee Council says.

This article was first published on the World Press Review.

Thursday, 3 November 2005

Zimbabwe Deportations Continuing Despite Ban

Two newspapers, The Guardian and, have revealed that Home Office officials are routinely ignoring the national identities of failed asylum seekers in order to get round a ban on returning them to Zimbabwe.

The Guardian (Oct. 24) revealed that Home Office officials attempted to remove twin sisters, Patience and Patricia Zondo, 28, on Tuesday, Oct. 18, during which guards assaulted one of the women.

The sisters were removed from Yarls Wood detention centre and Patricia was taken to Manchester airport while her sister was taken to Birmingham for separate flights to Johannesburg.

Although the deportations were later cancelled, the immigration service maintains that the women are South Africans. Their lawyer says both have Zimbabwean birth certificates.

Many Zimbabwean asylum seekers arrive in Britain from South Africa, often traveling on false papers from that country. The Home Office, in its own guidance briefings, says “a great deal of caution should be applied in placing significant weight on South African passports or identity documents where the claimant asserts they are not entitled to them.”

In August, Justice Collins halted removals to Zimbabwe, a ruling confirmed by judges in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Since the high court ruling, the Home Office has attempted to remove eight Zimbabweans on the grounds that they are South Africans. The Refugee Legal Centre successfully argued in the high court that all eight were Zimbabwean nationals.

Deri Hughes-Roberts of the Refugee Legal Centre told The Guardian that his office had represented Zimbabweans whose nationality had been disputed by the Home Office. “Officials persisted in arguing that these people were from South Africa, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,” he said.

Zimbabweans removed to South Africa were detained in the Lindela repatriation camp, notorious for its poor conditions, before being sent to Zimbabwe. Between April and July this year, more than 20 Zimbabweans are reported to have died in detention at the Lindela immigration holding facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“We would have very grave concerns if the Home Office is disputing nationality as a way of getting around the ruling,” Hughes-Roberts said. (Oct. 19) reports that a Zimbabwean asylum seeker with a Malawian passport, was deported to Malawi on Saturday, Oct. 15 while another failed asylum seeker was deported the following Monday and a third was due to be removed on Tuesday night.

The removals came just days after an asylum tribunal ruled that it was not safe to return failed cases to Zimbabwe. says, “Although the home office said it would consider the tribunal’s findings, deportations are continuing while a general policy is being formulated.”

This article was first published on the World Press Review.

Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Zimbabwean Asylum Seeker Wins Test Case

Three judges in Britain’s Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled, in a test case on Friday, Oct. 14, that a Zimbabwean asylum seeker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would be at risk if he were sent back to Harare.

The judges criticized the Home Office’s policy on deportations to Zimbabwe and said the lack of interest of the home secretary in how Zimbabwean authorities dealt with returned nationals was “alarming.”

Tribunal chairman Mark Ockelton said that the man had a “well-founded fear of persecution” if he was returned to Zimbabwe. He said that although the man had been “fraudulent” and “deliberately dishonest” in his dealings with the British authorities, the fact that he had now spent so much time in Britain would put him at risk if he returned to Zimbabwe.

“The fact that the appellant made a false claim, so generating the risk which would otherwise not have existed, does not alter the fact that the real risk of serious harm exists now,” the ruling went on.

The tribunal criticized the home secretary, Charles Clarke, for his department’s research into conditions in Zimbabwe and for the lack of evidence uncovered by a fact-finding delegation sent by the government last month.

Evidence from the home secretary appeared to show that deportees were escorted on planes with British officials handing their papers over to the aircrew.

“At that point, it appeared to us that the respondent [the home secretary] ceased to have any very clear interest in what happened. We find the respondent’s lack of interest in the process by which individuals that he returns to Zimbabwe are received by the Zimbabwean authorities rather alarming.”

The British government delegation that investigated conditions in Zimbabwe had been made up of civil servants involved with policy matters, Ockelton said.

“The way in which the investigation was conducted, and the way in which the results were presented to us, gives rise to the possibility — we say no more than that — that the investigators may have had existing policy in mind rather more than the discovery of new facts.

“Despite the facilities available to the investigation and the level at which it was conducted, it reveals nothing of the actual process which returned asylum seekers go through on their arrival at Harare airport.”

Steven Kovats, for the Home Office, told the earlier hearing that a delegation from the British government had visited Zimbabwe between Sept. 4 and Sept. 12 to determine whether there was evidence of systematic abuse of returned Zimbabweans. The home secretary had concluded failed asylum seekers were generally not at real risk of ill treatment or persecution, he said.

Campaigners told the court earlier this month that people returned from Britain are regarded as “spies” and “traitors” by President Robert G. Mugabe’s regime.

The tribunal was told that British ministers had failed to assess properly the risk to failed asylum seekers sent back to Zimbabwe.

Mark Henderson, for the Refugee Legal Center, said the Zimbabwe authorities considered those returned by the British government to be “agents of regime change.” He added that Charles Clarke now seemed to accept that Zimbabweans were subjected to “in-depth questioning” by Mugabe’s secret police, the C.I.O.

“The evidence suggests that anyone associated with the British authorities and in particular someone who has sought their protection from Mugabe and Zanu-PF and their forces will be viewed, to say the least, with suspicion,” Henderson had told the tribunal. “Indeed, the evidence not only as presented by ourselves but also presented by the secretary of state, refers to Zimbabwean authorities viewing such people as traitors, guilty of treachery and betrayal.”

Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the ruling was “sensible and humane.”

She said: “The ruling backs up what the Refugee Council has said all along — the government has failed to recognize the real dangers faced by people forced to return to that country. There has been plenty of evidence that they are subject to further abuse on their return because they are regarded as traitors by the Mugabe regime. Even if someone is not accepted by our government as being a refugee, we must not send them back into the sort of danger they would face in Zimbabwe.

“Ministers will have to look very seriously at the judges’ frankly scathing comments about how the government monitors the safety of people returned to Zimbabwe. We hope also that the government will understand that the dangers faced by people being forcibly returned to Zimbabwe are also faced by those removed to other countries with vicious regimes and unstable governments — and we call on them to always put the safety of people above beating targets for removals.”

The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture said: “The judgment emphasizes the absolute nature of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights that no one should be exposed to the risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Reacting to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal decision that it is unsafe to return the unnamed asylum seeker to Zimbabwe, Amnesty International said:

“Amnesty welcomes [the] decision because we know the human rights situation in Zimbabwe is now catastrophic — hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless by the government’s evictions program, and there is systematic persecution of all government critics.

“The Tribunal recognized that Zimbabweans who seek asylum in the U.K. are at special risk. This is correct. These people are presumed to be supporters of “regime change” for Zimbabwe.

“Amnesty hopes the Home Office will recognize today’s judgment when making future decisions about the claims of Zimbabwean asylum seekers.”

The high court is considering a judicial review of enforced returns to Zimbabwe but postponed the case on Aug. 4 pending Friday’s decision of the tribunal. Deportations are currently on hold until both cases conclude.

This article first appeared on the World Press Review.

Friday, 16 September 2005

British Government Asked to Reconsider Its Position on Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers, British lawmakers, Zimbabwean human rights activists and opposition party leaders, British and international non-governmental organizations, as well as British and international religious leaders have called upon the British government to reconsider its policy of deporting failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

The failed asylum seekers feel the Home Office is throwing them right back into the lion’s den from which they thought they had fled when they came to Britain. They dread falling back into the hands of President Robert Mugabe’s secret police and its Gestapo interrogation and torture tactics. For those who will survive these with their lives and sanity still intact, there is the added despair of state-imposed homelessness to deal with.

Over the past four months alone, the Zimbabwe government has killed three children; made between 200,000 and 1.5 million people homeless when it razed their homes to the ground; destroyed over 100,000 businesses and has arbitrarily arrested over 30,000 innocent people.

These recent attacks have been targeted at Zimbabwe’s urban population and are a calculated punishment for that population’s continued support of the opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (M.D.C.).

Reports coming from Zimbabwe suggest that this is only the beginning. Worse abuses are on the way.

Despite being aware of the on-going, brutal, state-sponsored oppression and violence and the accompanying beatings, torture, political killings, forced evictions and arbitrary arrests that the Zimbabwean population is being subjected to, the British Home Office says it is safe to send people back to Zimbabwe.

In the first three months of 2005, 95 Zimbabweans were forcibly removed from Britain and there are plans to return a further 116 to Zimbabwe.

Immigration minister, Tony McNulty says: “Since returns were resumed to Zimbabwe last November, we have received no substantiated reports of abuse of any person returned to the country.”

However, officials in the Zimbabwe government have publicly said Britain is training spies, mercenaries and agents to destabilize the country and is sending them into Zimbabwe under the guise of returning failed asylum seekers.

On arrival the deportees are invariably met by Mugabe’s secret police, detained, tortured and interrogated. Some of the deportees have not been heard from since. Their families, both in Zimbabwe and in Britain, report that the last they heard of them was that they had been picked up by the secret police.

Archbishop Pius Ncube, winner of the 2005 Burns Humanitarian Award (Scotland’s equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize), and a long-standing critic of Mugabe, says it is not safe to return asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

He says: “People who were asylum seekers in Britain and are returned have been detained by the police in Zimbabwe, some being tortured and forced to confess that they were in anti-government activities.”

The M.D.C. leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition party lawmakers and non-governmental and human rights organizations operating in Zimbabwe, have said it is not safe to return failed asylum seekers.

The U.S. Department of State spokesman, Adam Ereli has talked of the “tragedy, crime, horror” and obscenity of what the Zimbabwean government is perpetrating against its own people while the head of the European Union, Jose Manuel Barroso says the situation is causing very “grave concern.”

Baroness Williams of Crosby, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, has gone further and accused the British government of acting illegally in breach of the U.N. Convention on Refugees.

She says: “It is clearly not safe for people with any record of political party activity to go back to Zimbabwe.”

Labor M.P., Kate Hoey, who secretly visited Zimbabwe recently, emphasizes that anyone who has a slightest involvement with any kind of opposition politics is in real danger.

“There should be an immediate stop on all removals until we have got to the bottom of some of the cases in a lot more detail but also until we see a changed situation in Zimbabwe,” Hoey says.

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, is aware of the brutality of the Zimbabwe government.

Speaking in June, the foreign secretary said: “Over the past three weeks, the Mugabe regime has launched a brutal crackdown on some of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans”.

“There are also reports of children being detained in prison and separated from their parents.”

In July, a senior British judge called on the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair to halt all deportations of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe pending a further High Court hearing.

The comments came as scores of Zimbabwean asylum seekers went on a hunger strike to protest against being forced to return to their troubled country.

Judge Andrew Collins said he acted after a representative from the Refugee Legal Council told him there was evidence to suggest that asylum seekers were in danger of being ill-treated and abused under President Robert Mugabe’s regime, simply because they had claimed asylum in Britain.

He said it could be “arguable” on the basis of this material that it was unsafe to send back failed asylum seekers to the country.

Collins said there were between 70 and 80 applications before the High Court at the moment involving Zimbabweans fighting removal on the grounds that they fear for their lives or that they would suffer inhuman and degrading treatment.

Justice Collins “stayed” the cases while the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (A.I.T.) looks at new evidence of the current situation in Zimbabwe. The A.I.T. will hear one test case to set out definitive guidance.

In response to the decision of Justice Collins in the High Court, Tim Finch, director of communications at the Refugee Council said:

“As a result of [the] hearing no more asylum seekers will be returned to Zimbabwe until at least October and that will be a huge relief to the men and women who faced being flown back to the country … Many of them are opponents of Mugabe and they would have been in real danger if they’d been sent home …

“The comments of the judge show that ministers are under intense pressure to back down and stop all returns to Zimbabwe until the situation there improves radically. This is clearly the right thing to do and the government should act now. There is no need for any more expensive and time-consuming court hearings when everyone can see that returning people to Zimbabwe is so unsafe.”

Barry Stoyle, chief executive of the Refugee Legal Centre, said:

“We are very concerned at the dangers faced by asylum seekers who are returned to Zimbabwe. We are pleased that the Court has agreed there is an arguable case that they face persecution. We look forward to being able to argue the matter in full before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

“We are concerned that some Zimbabwean asylum seekers are still detained. It is now only proper for the Home Office to release all detained Zimbabwean detainees pending the outcome of the test cases.”

This article was first published on the World Press Review

Monday, 11 July 2005

Zimbabwe Detainees Should Be Released, Says Charity

As the hunger strike by Zimbabwean asylum seekers entered its tenth day today [July 1], the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (B.I.D.) has called on the government to immediately release all Zimbabwean nationals from British Immigration Removal Centers. If they are not released, B.I.D. is urging detainees to exercise their right to challenge their detention by making a bail application.

More than 40 Zimbabwean asylum seekers in British detention centers are on hunger strike protesting plans by the British government to deport them back to Zimbabwe. The asylum seekers say they will be tortured and killed on return.

In a letter to the home secretary, Charles Clarke, B.I.D. has urged the government to release detainees immediately, to ensure that powers of detention are not misused.

The prime minister has refused to officially suspend forced removals, but the press is reporting an unofficial halt at least until after the Group of Eight summit. The failure to issue a transparent and official policy means that detained Zimbabweans are in legal limbo — if there were an official suspension of removals, then the government would have to release them from detention. As it is, more than 100 people remain locked up.

“The government has the power to use immigration detention only for as short a period as necessary and where removal is imminent — if there is no transparent policy on removals then detention is arbitrary and therefore arguably unlawful,” said Sarah Cutler, policy officer.

Many of the detained Zimbabweans do not have legal representatives, so B.I.D. is providing free advice and information to those who have no option but to represent themselves in bail hearings.

“All detainees are entitled to apply for bail, and at the hearing the Home Office must justify why detention is necessary and demonstrate that removal is going to take place quickly.

“B.I.D. believes that if challenged, in many cases the use of detention would not stand up to scrutiny — we are encouraging Zimbabweans in detention to apply for bail themselves if they cannot find a legal representative to do so,” said Zoe Stevens, project manager at B.I.D..

B.I.D. is preparing evidence for Zimbabweans to use in bail applications to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Detainees are due to prepare their applications this week and will represent themselves in the bail hearings that will be set for next week.

B.I.D. is an independent charity that prepares and presents free bail applications on behalf of those detained under Immigration Act powers. B.I.D. also carries out information and research work on the policy and practice of immigration detention inBritain. B.I.D. has offices in London, Portsmouth (for Haslar detention center) and Oxford (for Campsfield detention center) and makes bail applications for those held at any of the detention centers in Britain.

“We also support people to make their own applications for release on bail, without a legal representative using our Notebook on Bail,” said Sarah Cutler.

In 2001 B.I.D. was awarded the Liberty/Justice Human Rights Award.

[Striking Zimbabwean asylum seekers, who have been protesting forced deportations, suspended their hunger strike on July 11 pending a hearing by the High Court on Aug. 4.

A ban on the deportation of Zimbabweans was lifted in November 2004. According to the BBC, 95 Zimbabweans were forcibly removed from the U.K. between January and March. More than 100 others are scheduled for removal. The detainees fear torture and death at the hands of President Robert Mugabe’s “police” if returned.]

This article was first published on the World Press Review.