Secret deal to remove Zimbabweans from UK

StatusNow4All network members picked up intelligence about people being summarily snatched when reporting or at home – you will find below a series of updates since then.

Below you will find a petition, a suggested letter for your MP, information about demonstrations, letter from APPG Zimbabwe asking the Government to take note of the dangerous situation and halt the removal of people to that country,

We are reminded that UK Governments over many years have often acted in their own interests, and have broken agreements or made deals with the Zimbabwean Government, regardless of the impact on Zimbabwean people.

Access to our Court system is crucial at these times, for people in this fervently hostile environment. People detained for deportation found that fax machines did not work, lawyers were fully booked and they were deprived of their right to challenge the removal directions.

On the day of the flight, 21 July 2021, the Courts declared that a particular group of people were at risk if they were returned, but those who were taken for the plane would not have had chance to take their case to Court.


Update 25 July 2021: Update on the 14 people deported to Zimbabwe and other deportations planned by the Home Office: ZITA HOLBOURNE LONDON, ENG, United Kingdom

Dear Supporters 

It has been 3 days since sadly 14 people were deported to Zimbabwe. 

The majority of those targeted were not deported and  we thank you for joining our campaign and taking action.  

Our thoughts are with the 14 people who were deported  and their families and loved ones.

We know that the flight was operated by HiFly and that it departed from Stansted airport on Wednesday evening , arriving in Harare on Thursday morning.

Upon arrival, they were taken straight onto coaches and transferred to the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management Hotel  (ZIPAM)  just outside Harare to quarantine for 10 days. Zimbabwe is on a complete Covid lockdown currently. 

Some had family they had not seen for years arrive at the airport to meet them but they were not allowed to along with much of the media. Some journalists reported that only the State sponsored media were allowed airside to speak to them as they embarked from the aircraft.

At ZIPAM  we have been advised that there is no hot water, no access to computers ( making communications and access to info difficult) and the electricity can go off for the whole day.  There is no indication  there will be any support provided by the government  after the quarantine  period.

If anyone deported or their families are reading this, there is a  Zimbabwe based organisations with links to  charities who can assist,  which we can put you in touch with. 

You can contact us at: barac.info@gmail.com. Also there is a contact form you can access via this website for  Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe: 

The day after the flight left the Home Office ‘boasted’ on twitter about it, referring to a landmark historic agreement between the UK and Zimbabwe government: https://twitter.com/ukhomeoffice/status/1418191661360889858?s=19

They don’t  mention a figure in the above communication but for each person deported, the UK government  would have paid a substantial  sum of money to the Zimbabwe government which is on top of the costs of chartering a plane and costs of the crew and security onboard.

I was interviewed by CGTN Africa News who also reported from outside the airport when the plane arrived as they were barred from access.

Watch here

Here is some other  recent news coverage:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/22/legal-bids-mean-uk-deportation-flight-to-zimbabwe-takes-off-just-one-third-full

https://apnews.com/article/africa-health-zimbabwe-coronavirus-pandemic-harare-e8d528348b009be9d904b293f76143b7

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britain-forced-deportation-citizens-zimbabwe-b1888967.html

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/removal-of-14-people-to-zimbabwe-is-a-sinister-escalation-of-britain-deportation-regime-campaigners-warn

In addition  to monitoring what happens to the 14, we are also concerned  that the UK government  have more mass deportations planned over the summer. 


We believe the first of these will be to Jamaica in the first half of August , but others will be to Vietnam, Nigeria / Ghana and Pakistan. The government  have also indicated that it may not just be once to any given country.  They have indicated in an agreement with Zimbabwe that there will be more deportations to Zimbabwe in batches of 50 and that there will be more than one charter flight deportations  to Jamaica this year.

Therefore we strongly advise that if you or anybody you know might be at risk, that you get legal advice / representation as a matter of urgency as the time between being detained and being deported  can be very short with an  inadequate number of days I  which to find specialist legal representation.  Add to this recent problems we have seen with phone signals not working, computers switched off, fax machines not working and restricted or no access to the computer  rooms at detention  centres, meaning that access to legal advice once detained can be extremely hard.

If you would like to support our campaigning  against deportations more   more widely and receive updates please also sign our related petition if you haven’t  already:

Sign here

https://www.change.org/p/stop-all-charter-flight-mass-deportations-to-jamaica-other-commonwealth-countries-jamaica50?use_react=false&v2=false

Kind Regards 

Zita

Zita Holbourne 
National Chair BARAC UK 

#stoptheplane #Zimbabwe150 #ZimbabweanLivesMatter #enddeportations 


This video speak for itself

Update 22 July 2021: The deportation flight left, and many people who were scheduled to be on the flight did not go for example due to Covid, or paperwork errors. For these people the struggle to remain in UK continues. The Courts have enables others to remain in UK due to acceptance that they have a personal risk on return. The resistance to the principle of returning people to Zimbabwe needs to be heard loudly.

Zim News: MDC Alliance calls for halt to ‘sad’ and ‘regrettable’ UK deportations

Late night High Court ruling offers hope for other asylum seekers currently held in UK detention centres

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main opposition MDC Alliance on Thursday urged the United Kingdom to halt the deportation of failed asylum seekers, warning that human rights abuses are “increasing” under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

A charter plane was due to land in Harare at about 10AM on Thursday with 14 Zimbabweans, marking the first removals from the UK in over 15 years.

The UK had hoped to deport around 50 people on this flight, but only a third of the passengers boarded the charter from Stansted Airport following legal challenges and a Covid-19 outbreak which forced dozens of escorts to self-isolate.

Read more here: https://www.zimlive.com/2021/07/22/mdc-alliance-calls-for-halt-to-sad-and-regrettable-uk-deportations/

Twitter: ZimLive@zimlive·14 Zimbabweans deported from the UK have been driven away by bus to an unknown location after landing in Harare at 10AM. This woman was waiting for her breadwinner-son who had been in the UK for 21 years, and left behind 3 children and a wife

FINAL DESTINATION: 2 ZUPCO buses carrying 14 Zimbabweans deported from the United Kingdom were escorted by police to an unknown destination, possibly a quarantine facility. Families of the deportees were not allowed to see them


This is disgraceful – the Home Office here is blatant that it has made a deal with the Zimbabwean Government that is also criticised for its human rights abuses.

Twitter: Home Office@ukhomeoffice·Following a historic landmark agreement with Zimbabwe, we have returned 14 criminals who were sentenced to a combined total of over 75 years in prison. Since January 2019 we have returned over 7,985 foreign criminals from the UK, helping to keep our communities safer.


Update 22 July 2021: Legal bids mean UK deportation flight to Zimbabwe takes off just one-third full

Multiple challenges, as well as Covid self-isolation, result in only 14 of people being on board, it is believed

A controversial Home Office deportation charter flight to Zimbabwe took off at about 10.30pm on Wednesday evening with only around one-third of the passengers on board that officials had hoped to remove.

It is the first mass deportation flight to Zimbabwe for many years and marks the start of a planned ‘summer season’ of charter flight deportations to countries including Vietnam and Jamaica that the Home Office is planning in the coming weeks.

The flight was due to deport about 50 people but only 14 are believed to have been on board when it took off from Stansted. It presented the Home Office with a series of problems, with dozens of escorts self-isolating until later this week due to being exposed to colleagues with Covid. Home Office officials confirmed on Tuesday evening that there is an outbreak of Covid at Brook House near Gatwick. Some of the Zimbabweans at that detention centre due to be deported could not be removed due to the outbreak.

There were also multiple legal challenges due to concerns about the safety of returnees in Zimbabwe, a country with a poor human rights record. Some of those earmarked for return have spent decades in the UK, have families here and were politically active against the Mugabe regime.

The Home Office says that many had committed serious crimes but some interviewed by the Guardian had committed less serious offences such as driving offences or working with false documents.

Read more https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/22/legal-bids-mean-uk-deportation-flight-to-zimbabwe-takes-off-just-one-third-full


ZBC News this morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UkLa5R1KjM&t=8s

New Zimbabwe.com: Video of the men as they arrived today: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1007054206729102&ref=watch_permalink


Update 21 July 2021: We hear from These Walls Must Fall:

Janatry Muranganwa (AKA Chihota) has confirmed this morning the plane will be leaving UK at 22:00 this evening. They have not been told which airline that is. They are quite distressed, and they have been on hunger strike since the Covid outbreak in the detention centre (Brook House). Clearly having the plane scheduled for 22:00 pm is to avoid any form of disruptions from campaigning organisations.

Janatry who is a MDC- a member, a campaigner and an activist is very fearful of his life as he has organised and publicly campaigned against ZANU-PF here in the UK. What worries him most is that the ZANU-PF government knows they are coming and they might be quarantined on arrival (in hotels or properties being run by ZANU-PF) that may lead to many of them to disappear without a trace like many activists in Zimbabwe.


We hear from one of our signatory organisations that at least nine people who are detained pending the proposed deportation flight to Zimbabwe tonight have been unable to access solicitors/barristers to enable them to exercise their right to appeal the removal directions – because solicitors are overwhelmed, which is what happens when many people are targetted at the same time. This faulty process knowingly puts people’s lives at risk, and undermines our legal system

See also this post which concentrates on Daisy’s situation – her husband has removal directions for this flight: https://statusnow4all.org/enabling-nurse-daisy/


Update 20 June 2021: DuncanLewisPublicLaw@DLPublicLaw·Order from the Upper Tribunal just in – Home Office ordered not to remove our client to Zimbabwe tomorrow. We remain concerned that Court intervention was needed & other Zimbabwean nationals still face unlawful deportation tomorrow #stoptheplane#keepbryaninwakefield#Zimbabwe150

and from SYMAAG@SYMAAG: We won! Bryan will not be on the flight. Now – let’s #stoptheplane

There is a great deal of resistance on this draconian action by the Home Office. MP’s, Several Unions, All the refugee groups, many lawyers, barristers and those in the Zimbabwean community are all fighting this together

From Zita Holbourne at BARAC: http://blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.com/

Petition initiated by SN4A signatory BARAC: Change.org: Sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/uk-home-office-stop-the-charter-flight-deportations-to-zimbabwe

This petition is hosted by BARAC UK but  brought by  all the additional  organisations listed at the end.

As a community we are gravely concerned about the impending deportation / removal flight to to Zimbabwe by the UK Home Office

Since  5th July 2021, the Home Office enforcement unit has been detaining large numbers of people for the purpose of deporting / removing them on chartered flights – the first of which is scheduled to depart on Wednesday 21st July 2021.     

Read more here: https://www.change.org/p/uk-home-office-stop-the-charter-flight-deportations-to-zimbabwe

You will also find a suggested letter to send to your MP here: http://blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.com/

and follow BARAC’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/BARACUK


Updated 20 July 2021: Letter from All Party Parliamentary Group – APPG: Zimbabwe, calling on the Government to take note of the situation in Zimbabwe and stop the threatened removals of people due to fly tomorrow

You can see and download the whole letter below

Updated 19 July 2021: ENABLING NURSE DAISY Read about Daisy’s husband whohas been detailed awaiting removal https://statusnow4all.org/enabling-nurse-daisy/


Updated 18 July 2021: Guardian: UK Home Office’s mass deportation flight plan criticised as ‘grubby’

Plans for chartered plane to Zimbabwe risks delivering activists to political persecution, say campaigners

Plans for the UK Home Office’s first mass deportation flight to Zimbabwe have been criticised as “a grubby operation” that risks “delivering democracy activists to political persecution”.

For decades, the Zimabwe government has not accepted people being forcibly returned from the UK, meaning Zimbabweans who sought asylum in Britain were left for decades, starting families and having children.

Its position has shifted in recent years and British and Zimbabwean officials met on 23 June to agree a deal on returns.

Many of the Zimbabweans in immigration detention with tickets for the charter flight, planned for Wednesday, say they fled their home country as a result of having campaigned for human rights in the southern African country and against its former leader Robert Mugabe.Advertisementhttps://3238fe21d009986f30b75a9a3ed3111b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The Guardian understands the Home Office is hoping to deport 50 Zimbabweans on Wednesday but far fewer are likely to be onboard as a result of a number of high court challenges against the removals. The supply of escorts to remove people has also been disrupted after dozens of workers from the contractor Mitie were understood to have been told to isolate amid soaring Covid cases.

The Zimbabwe flight is the first in a series of long-haul mass deportations the Home Office hopes to run in the coming weeks, with flights to Jamaica, Vietnam, Nigeria and Ghana also planned.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/18/uk-home-office-mass-deportation-flight-zimbabwe-plan-criticised-as-grubby




16 July 2021: Morning Star: Human rights groups protest UK deportations of 150 Zimbabweans

‘Whatever deal the Home Office made with the Zimbabwean government – those people are not going to be safe at all’

LONDON, United Kingdom – Human rights groups have expressed grave concerns over Home Office plans to deport 150 people to Zimbabwe next week, warning that their lives would be in danger.

The flight, scheduled for July 21, comes after the British government reportedly struck a secret deal with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime last month to deport hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers.

Zimbabwean community groups in Britain said they are horrified by the Home Office’s mass deportation plans given the country’s “atrocious human rights record.”

Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) said the move was disturbing not only because it disregards the risk to deportees’ lives but also as “this development is pursuant to a bilateral arrangement between the notorious government of Zimbabwe and the government of the United Kingdom.”

Read more here: https://www.zimlive.com/2021/07/16/human-rights-groups-protest-uk-deportations-of-150-zimbabweans/


Updated 15 July 2021: From SN4A signatory organisation SYMAAG: Stop Zimbabwe Deportation Flights – Sheffield Protest Friday 16 July 3:00 pm outside Vulcan House – bring your banners and placards.

150 undocumented Zimbabweans are to be deported from the UK on a private jet from Heathrow next week on Wednesday 21 July Those to be deported include undocumented people. Reports are coming in suggesting Zimbabweans have been snatched when they have turned up to report at centres, and taken from their homes – in Manchester, London, Southampton, and Wakefield – 28 people so far.

Vulcan House, Riverside Entrance, 6 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NU  https://is.gd/TgdIBJ

See reports of this demonstration here: https://twitter.com/SYMAAG


Independent: Zimbabwean nationals with British children rounded up for deportation

Exclusive: Dozens detained ahead of controversial charter flight to Harare next week

Zimbabwean nationals who have been in the UK for decades and have British children are being rounded up for removal on a charter flight to Harare next week, The Independent can reveal.

Ministers are being urged to halt the flight after it emerged over a dozen people from Zimbabwe have been detained this month, and many of them issued deportation orders for 21 July.

Read more here: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/zimbabwe-deportation-charter-detention-home-office-b1884636.html


14 July 2021: We know that people are being given notice of removal to Zimbabwe, for flights on 21 and 24 July 2021.

Right to Remain, which is a signatory organisation has useful information if you are facing removal/deportation, here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/removal/

There are demonstrations planned for 15 July 2021: These Walls Must Fall writes: “Anyone who is waiting for a final decision on their application to live in the UK can be required to regularly travel to “sign on” at an Immigration Reporting Centre. Every appointment carries the risk of being randomly taken to a detention centre. These conditions amount to unfair, unjust and unnecessary harassment of migrants, and it has to stop!” https://statusnow4all.org/manchester-protest-against-immigration-bail-reporting-on-15-july-2021/

13 July 2021: Update from Zim Eye about Zimbabweans being taken into the UK indefinite detention system here: https://fb.watch/v/2_2pUH1XD/


Zimbabweans (see report below) and now Albanians:

Updated 10July 2021 : Gov.uk: Priti Patel signs historic removals agreement with Albania

New agreement allows the UK to remove Albanians with no right to be in the UK as government speeds up return of Albanian criminals.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has this week signed a new agreement to remove Albanian nationals who have no right to be in the UK, as part of a 2-day visit to Tirana.

The signing comes days after the Home Secretary’s plans to overhaul the immigration system were laid before parliament in the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will make the New Plan for Immigration law.

The new agreement, signed alongside Albanian Minister of Interior Bledar Cuci, will strengthen the existing arrangements the UK has to remove Albanian nationals who have no right to be in the UK. This includes failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders (FNOs), and individuals who have overstayed their visas.

Albanian nationals make up the largest number of foreign national offenders in UK prisons totalling 16% of the FNO population.

The Home Secretary has accelerated the removal of foreign criminals following the easing of coronavirus travel restrictions, and since April the government has removed 254 Albanian criminals from the UK as well as 85 other Albanian nationals with no right to be here.

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/priti-patel-signs-historic-removals-agreement-with-albania


2021 July 8: Zim Eye: BREAKING: Mnangagwa Strikes Secret Deal With Britain To Charter Private Jet To Deport 150 Zimbabweans With No Criminal Record.

Scores of Zimbabweans are being bundled up and arrested around the United Kingdom as the British government entered a secret deal to deport hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

The UK government is chartering a flight to deport at least 150 undocumented Zimbabweans from the 21-22 July 2021, ZimEye can reveal.

  1. Flight chartered for 21st July 2021.
  2. Meetings attended by Zim Foreign Affairs Diplomat S Nyakotyo and for the British embassy, Emily Hardy.
  3. Zimbabweans arrested at reporting centres.

The secret deal was entered into in meetings held between the 22nd and 23rd June 2021, ZimEye reveals.

Those to be deported include mere immigration offenders, but the media will be advised that they are all convicted criminals, the meetings concluded.

The meetings were attended by Zim Foreign Affairs Diplomat S Nyakotyo and for the British embassy, Emily Hardy who is the Migration Delivery Officer at the High Commission in Harare.

A private jet has been booked to fly out of London Heathrow on the 21st July 2021 and will land at RGM Airport the following day.

By Business Correspondent | Scores of Zimbabweans are being bundled up and arrested around the United Kingdom as the British government entered a secret deal to deport hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

The UK government is chartering a flight to deport at least 150 undocumented Zimbabweans from the 21-22 July 2021, ZimEye can reveal.

The secret deal was entered into in meetings held between the 22nd and 23rd June 2021, ZimEye reveals.

Those to be deported include mere immigration offenders, but the media will be advised that they are all convicted criminals, the meetings concluded.

The meetings were attended by Zim Foreign Affairs Diplomat S Nyakotyo and for the British embassy, Emily Hardy who is the Migration Delivery Officer at the High Commission in Harare.

A private jet has been booked to fly out of London Heathrow on the 21st July 2021 and will land at RGM Airport the following day.

Reached for a comment, a UK Home Office spokesperson told ZimEye: “The public rightly expects us to remove those who have no right to be in the UK.”

On the legalities of the operation, they said, “we do not comment on operational matters.”

Commenting on the development immigration solicitor, Andrew Nyamayaro said while he was not aware of the flight details, he knows: “at least 8 Zimbabweans who have been bundled at reporting centres and taken to the government’s removal centre near Heathrow Airport.”

Breaking news brought to the network’s attention by signatory organisation AfricaGlobalVoices