UN Refugee agency slams Biti’s forced return by Zambian authorities

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is gravely concerned about reports of the forced return of Tendai Biti a member of the opposition party MDC Alliance by Zambian authorities to his country of origin.

Biti who is a senior Zimbabwean politician expressed the intention to seek asylum in Zambia at the border yesterday. It is reported that the authorities handed him over to Zimbabwe, his country of origin today despite a court order to the contrary.

In a statement,the agency has condemned this act by the Zambian authorities calling it a violation of the international refugee law.

“Refoulement or forcibly returning refugees and asylum-seekers to their country of origin is a serious violation of international refugee law. UNHCR calls on Zambia to investigate this reported incident urgently,” reads the statement.

Biti has been deported from Zambia in defiance of a court order after being refused asylum, as fears grew about a government crackdown after Zimbabwe’s disputed election.

Zambian border guards handed Biti to Zimbabwean authorities this morning despite the Zambian court order saying he should not be deported until it could hear his appeal.

Kupakwashe Cheryl Makonye

Journalist based in Harare , Zimbabwe, with well over five years experience in print and radio journalism.

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