Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Zimbabwe Association Ltd

  The Zimbabwe Association wishes to express its concern at the increasing level of violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe. This is reflected in the evidence of those already here or recently arrived. We attach a file of cases of harassment—this evidence is based directly on our own experiences about what has happened with cases in which we have been involved. We are also concerned about continuing violence towards people who have been returned.

  We should like to stress that in the highly volatile situation existing at this time, intimidation is not restricted to known MDC activists, but to anyone who has opposed the regime, or is in a position of responsibility and does not actively support Zanu-PF. Other targets of the government include farm workers who may be perceived to have supported the opposition simply by continuing to work for their employers.

  The Zimbabwe Association is an apolitical support network in the UK for asylum seekers and refugees from Zimbabwe.


  1.  Mr A, video cameraman. Came to the attention of the authorities through taking videos of political gatherings. Failed asylum seeker to the UK. Tortured after return to Zimbabwe a) physically and b) psychologically. Recorded in Affidavit dated 8 August 2001.

  2.  Mr B, MDC activist.

  Received Refugee status in April 2002.

  Since Mr B has been in the UK, war veterans camped at his father's plot; CIO questioned his father; they forced his father to ring him and request his return to Zimbabwe; father later phoned on public phone and let him know what was going on.

  Mr B sent me an e-mail (dated January 2002) detailing these events.

  3.  Mr C, low-level MDC supporter.

  He is a "failed" asylum seeker in the UK, despite having been abducted, tortured, and his wife dying of injuries sustained during the attack in which he was abducted.

  About 3-4 weeks ago (end March/early April) his 14 year-old-son was attacked and very badly beaten.

The boy was hospitalised and cannot recollect what happened—there is a strong indication that it was political rather than criminal, as none of the videotapes he was carrying were stolen.

  Mr C is trying to obtain the medical report detailing the attack.

  4.  Mr D, teacher.

  Mr D came to the adverse attention of the authorities after having a friend to stay for the night, who turned out to be an MDC activist.

Despite the adjudicator having accepted that Mr D had been tortured he was refused asylum on the grounds that he should have tried "internal flight".

His case is on-going.

  His father-in-law was recently taken by people searching for Mr D.

He was forced to drive his car out of town and only the fact that it ran out of petrol prevented his abduction—however, the "people" smashed up his car and returned to his home and destroyed some of his property.

Mr D reported this incident to his solicitor, who probably has more details.

  5.  Mr E, welder.

  He is an asylum seeker in the UK.

  Mr E had been in trouble with the police for his critical views. After he left Zimbabwe the police went looking for him, beat up his wife and threatened her. She told them that he was in England; they told her in a very threatening manner, that if he came back—he would not be safe from them.

  While he was in detention he received news that his wife had gone missing, and his child had been found just wandering ... I spoke to him today (3 May 2002); there is still no news of his wife.

  6.  Mr F, MDC activist.

  The adjudicator mentioned that there were no human rights problems in Zimbabwe and refused his appeal.

  He was returned to Zimbabwe mid-December 2001.

  He was assaulted on his return, and later escaped.

  His aunt confirmed in a fax dated 20 December 2001 that she had also been assaulted by people searching for Mr F.

  Mr F is now in the UK, once again seeking asylum.

  7.  Mr G, MDC activist.

  He was a failed asylum seeker who was returned to Zimbabwe (c.21 December).

[Incidentally, the legal rep responsible for the failure of his asylum case is now under investigation by the OISC and has been prohibited from taking on any more immigration cases.]

  He has been in hiding off and on since his return.

  Before he was returned, Zanu youth went several times to his house searching for him (letters from his father to him and his sister, dated June and November 2001 detail these events).

  His father was beaten badly, and hospitalised during one of these "searches".

  His sister said the family had many problems before the presidential elections with people surrounding the house, and being threatening.

  Mr G has been approached on several occasions by people who say they know he was in the UK, and have accused him of being a spy.

  His family is trying to get him out of the country.

  8.  Mr H, ex-member of airforce.

  Mr H was an outspoken government opponent, but did NOT belong to a political party.

  He was a failed asylum seeker who was returned to Zimbabwe (1 January 2002).

  On his arrival he saw a "warvet" by the name of Chihuri (who had been at Tinsley House with him) pointing out returning asylum seekers to the authorities.

He fled and is still in hiding.

  9.  Mr I.

After a lengthy period of detention he became very depressed—he was concerned about his wife who had no money for food; he also felt he would never be let out of detention.

  He signed to go back to Zimbabwe and was returned c. 16 April 2002.

I contacted his wife (22 April)—she said he got home OK, but people had been round to their home looking for him and he has fled to Mutare (hundreds of kilometres away).

  10.  Mr J, Assistant Manager.

  After a lengthy period of detention he became very depressed—he signed to return to Zimbabwe.

  He was taken to the Zimbabwe High Commission (administrative matters).

  While there the staff told him they knew he was an asylum seeker and would alert authorities in Harare to his imminent return.

  Mr J went back to Campsfield House, and tried to hang himself. He is currently back at Campsfield House where he has retracted his statement re returning to Zimbabwe and is continuing to fight his case; he has a Tribunal hearing in the near future.

Zimbabwe Association

May 2002

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