The UK will begin this week with the mass deportation of Zimbabweans who sought asylum at the height of the country’s political upheaval under the late Robert Mugabe.
British envoys in Harare are due to be Zimbabwean Foreign Ministry officials laying the foundation for the imminent deportation of 150 Zimbabweans.
The first chartered plan with 50 deportees is expected in Harare on Wednesday, but there is a lively campaign by some British lawmakers to prevent the deportations.
Seventy-five British politicians have written to Home Secretary Priti Patel asking her to stop the deportations of Zimbabwean nationals, citing the “deteriorating” political and humanitarian situation in the South African country.
The letter was Signed by MPs and colleagues from all major British parties who want the charter flight to Harare on Wednesday “urgent “will be stopped”.
A notice from the British Embassy in Harare revealed that a meeting with the Central Government officials on June 23 agreed that 100 people should be identified for deportation.
“We agreed that the embassy would give names to the ministry at the meeting, but that some of the people reported could actually travel.” Reads part of the notice.
It says the flight would be “foreign nationals and.” (if capacity permits) “promote some immigration offenders.
Lord Jonathan Oates, Co-Chair of The All Party Parliamentary Group for Zimbabwe coordinated the lobby to stop the deportations.
The British politicians said their engagements with Zimbabweans made it clear that the human rights situation “continued to deteriorate” in the country.
“The Zimbabwean government is systematically suppressing its political opponents, denies the opinion leader unity and commits grave human rights violations, “read part of the letter to Ms. Patel.
” These violations include political opponents, including MPs, illegal imprisonment, sex attacks, torture and murder. “
Thousands of Zimbabweans were forced into exile from around 2000 when Mr Mugabe’s government launched an often violent land reform program that evicted nearly 4,000 white commercial farmers.
Most of them found refuge in South Africa , UK, Canada, Australia and the United States.
After the 2017 coup that overthrew Mr Mugabe, his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa appealed to Zimbabweans to return home, but few accepted the offer.
President Mnangagwa has been accused of withdrawing his promise to restore Zimbabwe to democracy while cracking down on his critics.
Zimbabwe’s economy is still ailing h which has forced some of its citizens to seek refuge in neighboring countries.