Draft Letter to Jacqui Smith
December 10, 2008
For those of you who are busy, please find below a draft letter to Jacqui Smith regarding deportations to the DRC. Please feel free to cut & paste & modify it however you like.
Dear Jacqui Smith
I am writing to you to express my concern at the plight of Congolese asylum-seekers in the UK.
The High Court has recently ruled that “failed” Congolese asylum-seekers can now be deported at any time, a ruling which is likely to impact over 5 000 people.
As you are certainly aware, the Democratic Republic of Congo is currently in a state of civil war. Violence is endemic, and women are at particular danger as the use of rape as a weapon of war is very widespread. The Amnesty International 2008 Report states:
“Political and military tensions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) resulted in major outbreaks of violence in the capital, Kinshasa, and Bas-Congo province. Unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the security forces and by armed groups were common across the country, in many cases directed at perceived political opponents. Rape by security force members and armed group fighters continued at high levels.”
At this very moment, the Amnesty International website states “The situation in the DRC remains on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Under the circumstances, deporting anyone to the DRC is akin to sentencing them to death. Furthermore, as a feminist, you cannot possibly be sanguine about the appalling sexual violence awaiting any women that are sent to the DRC – in fact, it is almost certain that all of the women who are facing deportation have already suffered rape and other sexual violence.
Consequently, as a feminist myself, I urge you to immediately declare a moratorium on all deportations to the DRC.
I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply, as I am very interested in your thoughts on this issue.