Human Rights, Public Law, Asylum & Immigration

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Queen’s University South Africa

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Zimbabwe

July 2005

Deportations of two Zimbabweans fail, (The Herald, 2005-07-07):-Attempts by the British Government to deport two Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers on hunger strike in the United Kingdom have stalled after their lawyers won last minute High Court injunctions to stop their removal, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported yesterday. Patricia Mukandara (26) and Absolomon Mashamba (34), who have been on hunger strike for the past 14 days were due for deportation on Saturday and Monday respectively. The BBC said Mashamba, who was being held in solitary confinement at Campsfield House near Oxford, was waiting for a flight at Heathrow after being taken to the airport despite his protest. It said he had been told he was leaving on the 1945 hours BST British Airways flight to Harare after being taken from his solitary holding cell in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre to Heathrow when his lawyers were told the removal plans had been cancelled. Mashamba’s lawyer, Ms Jovanka Savic said: “We had lodged proceedings at the High Court to have this removal stopped. His removal from the country in this manner would have been illegal. He should not be removed until a judge has had an opportunity to consider his case.” Mashamba’s legal team are arguing for his case to be heard at the High Court and this is the second removal attempt they have successfully blocked in four days, according to the BBC. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that Mukandara’s deportation was stopped just an hour before take-off after her lawyer won a High Court injunction stopping her removal. It said there was drama at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire, where she was being held, when about 12 other Zimbabwean women detainees formed a barricade in her room as she refused to accompany immigration officers to the airport. “The centre was put on lockdown alert and all visitors were told that no detainees could be seen that day. At 8 pm staff in riot gear entered and the women were dispersed. Ms Mukandara and another detainee, Siphiwe Zondo were taken to Colnbrook detention centre. But in a last minute intervention, just an hour before take off, her lawyer won a High Court injunction stopping her removal,” the paper said. Her lawyer, Ms Savic, said the order had been made by Mr Justice McCombe. “In this case the judge decided the removal was inappropriate and has given an order that it be stayed,” she said. In an interview with the Press Association, Mukandara said: “I am so weak I can hardly walk. I have not eaten for 11 days and I have not had any fluids for four days”. The British government, which encouraged Zimbabweans to seek asylum enmasse in the UK between 2000 and 2004 to tarnish the image of the Government, has turned on asylum seekers and is deporting them following the lifting of a blanket ban on deportations to Zimbabwe in November last year. According to the British Home Office, there are about 106 Zimbabweans in detention centres across the UK. During the first three months of this year, 95 Zimbabweans were deported from Britain.