Source: From The Observer (10 April 05)
Authors: Jamie Doward and Sri Carmichael
The planes disgorge their human cargo after dark, when Ndjili airport, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, becomes one of the bleakest places on Earth.
It is to Ndjili, near the capital Kinshasa, that Britain and other European countries send Congolese asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected, an increasingly common event in recent months, say human rights groups.
The would-be refugees are led from the jets on to the runway by a handful of escorts. The escorts then hand them over to the Congolese authorities and an uncertain fate. The little information that comes out of the war-ravaged country suggests that many end up in windowless jails run by the feared National Security Agency. From these dark cells they are transferred to Makala Central Prison, dubbed ‘the morgue’. The US State Department reported that 69 people died in Makala in 2003 as a result of beatings, starvation and disease.
‘According to reports from returning asylum seekers, as well as from agents of the director-general of migration (DGM), deportees are held in small cells at the airport,’ said Congolese human rights activist Rene Kabala Mushiya. ‘There are no windows and no light. From here, they are called in to the director of the DGM for interrogation.’.
A report published by the Institute of Race Relations, a London- based charity, suggests Britain is breaching the Geneva conventions by sending asylum seekers back to conflict zones. It quotes the fate of 13 men flown from the UK who were immediately detained at Kinshasa
Go to ‘Return at any cost’ is breach of rightsfor The Observer’s full article.
Go to The deportation machine: Europe, asylum and human rights for a copy of the Institute of Race Relations report