Rights activists condemn evictions, deportations

HARARE - Human rights activists have condemned the planned evictions of Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa and deportations in Canada and the United Kingdom.

According reports from South Africa, nearly 400 refugees and asylum seekers, who also include mostly Zimbabweans housed at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, are expected to be evicted today.

Early last month, the Canadian government announced that it was resuming deportations, targeting mainly Zimbabweans and Haitians, while the UK is currently carrying out the deportation process.

According to Canadian reports, Immigration minister Chris Alexander and Public Safety minister Steven Blaney said the decision was reached after a thorough review of the targeted countries’ conditions. Abel Chikomo, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum director said the planned evictions and deportations were improper.

“There is a reason why those people went there,” he said, adding that some fled the country due to economic and political reasons.

“None of these reasons have gone away,” Chikomo said.

Several Zimbabweans fled the country over the past decade following a biting economic and political crisis.

This followed Zimbabwe’s fall-out with its former colonial master, Britain after violent land seizures from the minority white community.

This resulted in the Western bloc imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, creating a serious economic meltdown that saw inflation reaching unprecedented levels.

In a bid to safeguard its power, the President Robert Mugabe-led government embarked on an offensive against members of the opposition political parties — leading to several Zimbabweans seeking refuge in different countries across the globe.

“There is no guarantee that when these people come back, they will be able to fit in the society,” Chikomo said.

He further said that some of the people had been chased away from their rural homes by their local chiefs because of their political orientation, which made it difficult for them to go back to those areas.

“These refugees cannot be accommodated in such societies,” he said, adding that there was no reason for those in the Diaspora to come back to Zimbabwe, considering what is currently happening in Zanu PF and the fact that there is no economy to talk about.

Lilian Timveous, the opposition MDC national executive’s spokesperson for domestic affairs expressed fear that some of the victims may not be safe back home as they had gone there fleeing political violence.

“It’s really a bad situation for our people, especially if one considers that the majority of them were political refugees. Who then will guarantee their safety here when Zanu PF has reached a point where it now even devours its own children?” she asked.

Timveous whose party supporters constitute the majority of the refugees that fled political violence in 2008 called on the foreign governments to exercise restraint and protect the asylum seekers.

Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama said the issue of refugees was supposed to be between governments.

“The United Nations is supposed to take care of the issue,” Muchadehama said.

He said the Methodist Church accommodated the refugees on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, adding that he had hoped the church would continue with the good work.

He however, said it was the discretion of the church to leave the refugees or to order their eviction.

Commenting on the deportations, Muchadehama said each case was supposed to be treated on its merit.

“These are sovereign States,” he said, adding that, it however, was supposed to first asses the Zimbabwean current political and economic situation before carrying out the exercise.

“I don’t think anything has changed that much. There is even more uncertainty now because of the economic meltdown that we are experiencing.

“I think things are going to get worse as we get to 2018. They must wait and see if the situation will improve,” he said.

Comments (2)

Well its disturbing to learn about such sensitive issues.However,its not new such kind of reaction from these so-called super powers.My question is why they did not deport Zimbabweans during inclusive government when the economic situation was actually getting better?Now they are aware that the government is struggling thats exactly the time they want to carry out the deportations simplt to exercebate the economic crisis and stir civil unrest.Compatriots it is high time we learn even if you are away from home we ought to know that home is home and there is no other place better than home.The message is lets strive by all means at every cost to invest back home.You can never be safe in these hostile states as Zimbabwean or African

carson Macate - 2 January 2015

well said friend home is best. there is no place like home they say. i have been to many countries and at the end i concluded that zim is the best thing for me. i wish for better roads, safe drinking water, electricity and opportunities for all who aspire to be better.

taurai - 2 January 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.