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Blog: People from the Democratic Republic of Congo seeking asylum in UK have been forcibly repatriated to Congo only to be persecuted there by the authorities, according to a report by the human rights charity Justice First highlighted in the Guardian today 26 November.
According to the Guardian, the report outlines the fate of 17 adults and nine children forcibly removed from the UK between 2007 and 2011. Most of the adults had been active in political opposition movements in Congo.
The report claims that:
- two adults disappeared shortly after arriving in Congo, while nine were arrested and imprisoned;
- thirteen experienced persecution, two of the women being raped and two of the men being sexually abused;
- six were badly beaten and two were subjected to electric shock treatment;
- six of the children were imprisoned and three kept apart from their mothers;
- four of the returnees had to pay a ransom to buy their freedom from detention.
According to the report, before the asylum seekers were forcibly removed from UK, they were given assurances by the UK Border Agency that they would not be in danger in Congo.
The report claims that the UK fails to monitor the fate of people forcibly returned to conflict zones such as Congo, where cases of torture are well documented.
A Congolese immigration officer interviewed for the report described how people with “political problems” were taken to a detention centre. “The returnees have no excuse,” he said. “There will be no pity shown.”
According to the Guardian, the UK Border Agency commented: “The agency only enforces the return of individuals whom we, and the courts, are satisfied are not in need of protection and who do not elect to leave voluntarily.”
Comment by Antigone1984: The allegations made in the report by Justice First – the torture and persecution in Congo of Congolese asylum seekers forcibly repatriated by the UK – should be raised in court, at international level if necessary. Both the UK and Congolese Governments should have to account for their actions before a judge.