You may have read as I did with some horror that the British Government is planning to resume sending failed asylum seekers back to Zimbabwe.
The policy was suspended some time ago and all the evidence seems to suggest that the situation in Zimbabwe is continuing to deteriorate, and that Mugabwe views all returnees as tainted by Western culture – and are therefore suspect. Those returned seem to ‘disappear’ and are never heard of again.
This particularly touches areas of the Uk where there are many asylum seekers, some of whom are members of our churches; those who come from Zimbabwe are currently in fear of their lives.
This is the story of one of them.
The youth work manager at the Vine, a Christian project in Walsall lost contact with his parents in December last year and found out a few days later that his father (both parents were then still in Zimbabwe) had been beaten up and seriously burned at the same time as thugs burned down the family business and home. He found out a few days later again that his mother had been seriously sexually abused at the same time.
Both parents are now out of Zimbabwe as a result of assistance from both Christians and secular movements but the youth worker is reporting that he now knows of many, even worse examples of atrocities being committed by people supporting the current evil regime.
What can we do?
The Britain Zimbabwe Society has launched a petition on the No. 10 website asking the Government to change its stance. The full petition – and link - is printed below. Please click on the link below and add your name to the petition asking Gordon Brown to reconsider this policy change in order to both save lives and give Zimbabwe a better model for human rights.
Britain Zimbabwe Society Petition to the UK Prime Minister
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to continue to allow
unsuccessful asylum seekers from Zimbabwe to remain in the UK, and to continue the suspension of forced removals to Zimbabwe.
Mr Brown, we have noted your concern for the population of Zimbabwe,
and your wish to send unmistakable signals of this concern to the
So we are disturbed by the recent determination of the UK Asylum and
Immigration Tribunal, in the case of HS, that unsuccessful Zimbabwean
asylum seekers may safely be deported back home. It would be ironic
if the first unmistakable signal from your Government were to be the
resumption of forced deportations. These were suspended in January
2002, and human rights in Zimbabwe have not improved since then.
The AIT's determination is permissive but not mandatory. There is no
legal or other compulsion on your Government. We ask that the current
suspension on forced removal to Zimbabwe remains in place. This would
be more consistent with your public position on Zimbabwe.
We also ask that the Zimbabweans involved be freed from detention and
harassment and that they be enabled both to support themselves and to
take part in the debate about the future of their country. They
should be allowed to seek employment and so relieved from
destitution. In this way Britain would give Zimbabwe a real example
of how to implement human rights.