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    BBC News UK resumes Zimbabwe deportations

    UK resumes Zimbabwe deportations

    By Dominic Casciani BBC News


    X-Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu is battling to avoid deportation to Zimbabwe


    The Home Office says it will resume enforced returns of Zimbabweans with no legal right to be in the UK, after a four-year moratorium.
    The courts stopped deportations to Zimbabwe in 2006 when judges ruled that the country wasn't safe.
    That legal bar was lifted two years later, but the Home Office did not resume enforced returns immediately.
    Some 13,000 Zimbabweans have sought asylum in the UK over the past five years and a third were granted asylum.
    It is not clear when the UK Border Agency will attempt to organise the first flights - but they are likely to follow a forthcoming ruling on conditions in the country.
    Immigration minister Damian Green said the decision to resume enforced returns reflected the "improved stability in Zimbabwe since 2009 and the UK court's view that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection."
    "Those facing return will join the hundreds who have returned voluntarily, responding to calls by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to return home and help rebuild their country," he said.
    "The British Government takes its international responsibilities seriously and will always grant protection to those in genuine need, and continue to monitor events in Zimbabwe."
    The decision to resume enforced removals comes after immigration officials undertook a fact-finding visit to the country to establish how the government would deal with anyone who was deported.




    Morgan Tsvangirai (R) has shared power with President Robert Mugabe since February 2009


    Some 13,000 Zimbabweans have sought asylum in the UK over the past five years. About a third of them have been granted asylum after saying they faced persecution for opposing President Robert Mugabe.
    In practice 4,000 more were given some form of legal right to remain after the courts declared the country unsafe.
    But the UK Zimbabwe Association said it wanted to work with the UK government to establish a voluntary return programme.
    "Most Zimbabweans wish to go home and rebuild their country when the time is right," said co-ordinator Sarah Harland.
    "ZA does not believe that this is the right time for enforced returns, with control of the state security forces remaining in the hands of the perpetrators of violence."
    Ms Harland said that [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] had underlined that there had been no improvement in the rule of law - and the possibility of a decline.
    And Amnesty International UK said the government's decision was "premature".
    Its media director, Mike Blakemore, said: "We are dismayed at the UK Border Agency's sudden decision to resume forcible removals of rejected asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.
    "Any decision to remove people must take into account the actual situation on the ground in Zimbabwe."
    Since 2008, there has been a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The parties are trying to agree a new constitution ahead of a referendum and elections in 2011.
    Mr Tsvangirai, many of whose supporters sought asylum in the UK, has threatened to boycott those elections if there is a fresh outbreak of violence.
    Donna Covey of the UK's Refugee Council said: "The government must ensure there is substantive evidence to prove these individuals will not be under personal threat of persecution or human rights abuses if returned to Zimbabwe.
    "Moreover it is imperative the government offers support to the people they have returned and to monitor their safety, so they can be sure they are not sending people to further harm."


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    DF Admin 4me2's Avatar
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    Default Re: UK resumes Zimbabwe deportations

    How the hell can you send people back with this looming ?





    Robert Mugabe: Zimbabwe unity deal should end next year


    Morgan Tsvangirai (R) has shared power with President Robert Mugabe (L) since February 2009


    Zimbabwe's president has said a power-sharing deal which expires in four months' time should not be extended.
    Robert Mugabe said the country should hold a referendum on a new constitution early in 2011 and then elections.
    He said he was reluctant to renegotiate the unity deal as some events happening in the coalition were "foolish".


    "Some will say let us negotiate and give it another life. I am reluctant because part of the things that are happening [in the coalition] are foolish," Mr Mugabe said in comments broadcast on state television.
    Prime Minister Tsvangirai last week said he was disgusted with Mr Mugabe and earlier this week suggested that Zimbabwe's ambassadors should not be recognised by foreign governments.
    Mr Mugabe has been sharing power with rival Morgan Tsvangirai since last year, under a deal worked out after disputed 2008 elections.

    Wrangling

    Under their accord, the two politicians agreed to draw up a new constitution followed by a referendum and then fresh elections.
    But Mr Mugabe expressed frustration with constant wrangling within the coalition government, saying the lifespan of the political accord had reached its end.
    "February next year, which is about four months to go, then it will have lived its full life and I do not know what is going to happen if we are not ready with a constitution," Mr Mugabe said.
    Though the power-sharing pact does not specify how long the coalition government should last, it gives a 24-month timetable for the crafting of a new constitution seen as crucial for free and fair elections.
    The process of reforming the existing constitution is already almost a year behind schedule, delayed by a lack of funds and disagreement over the composition of committees.
    The BBC's Jonah Fisher, in Johannesburg, says that with Mr Mugabe's patience in coalition government clearly running thin, his statement has raised the possibility that Zimbabwe might vote without a new constitution in place.
    The country has once more suspended its public outreach programme on a new constitution due to funding problems.
    The public meetings were put on hold last month after a supporter of Mr Tsvangirai was killed during a meeting.
    Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change, has accused the president of violating their agreement by unilaterally appointing ambassadors.
    On Wednesday mediators from South Africa travelled to Harare to try to resolve the disagreement.


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