International

Not one deportation

As Mick Hartley notes this deserves more publicity:

HUNDREDS of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers held in detention centres have began a hunger strike over Britain’s decision to speed up their removal and send them back to face torture from Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Scores of Zimbabwean refugees have been removed forceably from Britain in the past month at a time when the United Nations has ordered an investigation into President Mugabe’s latest terror operation which has made up to a million people homeless.

Human rights groups and MPs last night demanded that the Home Office stop the deportations. They are urging Tony Blair to discuss the plight of the refugees at next month’s G8 summit at Gleneagles.

The hunger protest was started after Crespen Kulingi, an opposition leader, was told he was to be removed on Saturday. Mr Kulingi, 32, who is a close aid of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Chang (MDC), is in a wheelchair after suffering crippling injuries in detention in Zimbabwe. His supporters last night condemned his imminent deportation in what is Refugee Week.

It is an outrage that the British government is willing to send refugees back to a country where scenes such as this are now commonplace:

A woman sheltering in a local church courtyard gave birth hours after her home was torched and there lay the two day old baby, perched upon a pile of rags, like a discarded, broken doll. How long will this tiny creature survive? If she does what does the future hold in store for her?

Another woman with burns on her leg – she refused to leave her home, her shack, her only refuge, so the police just burnt it with her inside.

A mother of four who managed to save her clothing, only to have her last possessions ripped from her hands and thrown back into the flames.

And our government are prepared to send those who have fled from Mugabe’s terror back into these horrors?

Africa is high on the political agenda at the moment and this is surely a ‘no brainer’ for the government isn’t it? Not one refugee from Zimbabwe should be sent home and the government should pledge to give the democratic opposition, the churches and other civil organisations in Zimbabwe their full support and solidarity while working for a regime change strategy with all potential allies.

If they aren’t capable of taking such a straightforward position than perhaps those who are planning to raise the plight of Africa during the G8 summit could put the horrors of Zimbabwe and the shameful behaviour of our government at the top of their list of protests.

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