Concern Over UK Home Office Plans To Deport 150 Zimbabweans
23 July 2022
Spread the love

Human rights groups have expressed grave concerns over Home Office plans to deport 150 people to Zimbabwe next week, warning that their lives would be in danger.

The flight, scheduled for July 21, comes after the British government reportedly struck a secret deal with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime last month to deport hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers.

Zimbabwean community groups in Britain said they are horrified by the Home Office’s mass deportation plans given the country’s “atrocious human rights record.”

Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) said the move was disturbing not only because it disregards the risk to deportees’ lives but also as “this development is pursuant to a bilateral arrangement between the notorious government of Zimbabwe and the government of the United Kingdom.”

The group said that abuses had worsened under the late Robert Mugabe’s successor, including cases of state-sanctioned murder, assault and torture of those critical of the ruling party.

But the Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation claims that the Home Office’s assessment of the conditions in Zimbabwe are based on the situation in 2016, with only a “few minor updates.”

ROHR added: “The clandestine nature of the operation and the speed at which it is being executed appears to be designed to give the victims little to no chance of access to legal representation.”

The Home Office has already rounded up and detained 150 Zimbabwe citizens for removal next week — the first charter flight to the country since 2019.

Campaigners told the Morning Star that they include people who have lived in Britain for decades, some of whom arrived as children, as well as political activists. The Home Office said that deportees are foreign criminals.

ROHR is among a number of groups considering legal action to halt the flight.

Human rights campaigner and Zimbabwean national Violet, who lives in Britain, warned that the risk for deportees is massive.

“Whatever deal the Home Office made with the Zimbabwean government — those people are not going to be safe at all,” she told the Star.