Sheffield MPs join calls to stop “inhumane” deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers
Yesterday (July 19), critics from all major political parties wrote to Priti Patel warning her that a charter flight to Harare scheduled to fly on Wednesday must be “urgently stopped” and that all referrals to the Zimbabwe must be arrested until its government “puts an end to its human rights violations”.
A joint letter from Sheffield MPs Paul Blomfield, Clive Betts, Olivia Blake, Gill Furniss and Louise Haigh called on the Home Secretary to “personally review every case” and to suspend the referral until “all persons considered for expulsion have access to sufficient legal advice. ”.
The letter reads: “Political persecution remains an extremely dangerous possibility in Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa, and it is vital that the UK does its duty to protect those exposed to violence or oppression.
“It is concerning that the theft has been reported as part of a political agreement between the UK and the Zimbabwean government, accelerating the rate at which these deportations are occurring and thus potentially compromising access to legal assistance for detainees . “
The MPs also write that “advocacy groups tell us that some of those on the run are democracy activists who have fled political persecution and will face it again if returned.”
MP Paul Blomfield said: ‘It is the duty of the Home Secretary to ensure that all those seeking asylum in the UK have proper access to legal advice and that the procedure is followed. – people cannot be arrested at night without any regard for the appropriate rules governing asylum claims and immigrant removals. This theft should be stopped until it is certain that all individuals have received legal advice, as is their right. “
The national letter, coordinated by all-party parliamentary group co-chair Lord Jonathan Oares, reads: “The Zimbabwean government systematically oppresses its political opponents, denies freedom of expression and commits gross human rights violations. These violations include subjecting political opponents, including members of Parliament, to unlawful detention, sexual assault, torture and murder. “