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Saturday, 27 December 2014

UK Deports Man After 8 Years Legal Battle

Last year more than 13,000 people were deported from the UK - but what happens if you can't even pronounce the name of the place they're sending you back to?

"More than anything I feel cheated out of my life. They've taken everything I had - my family, my friends, my dignity."

A loud noise interrupts Shadreck Mbiru mid-flow on the phone from his new home; it doesn't stop. I have to ask and it turns out it's a very noisy cockerel, not something Shadreck was used to having around at his previous home in London.

The 26-year-old hasn't yet adapted to life in Chitungwiza, a town in Zimbabwe around half an hour from Harare that the locals say he pronounces strangely. He left Britain on a plane from Heathrow escorted by UK border staff in November.

Shadreck has been deported back to the country in which he was born - a victory for the Home Office, which had been trying for eight years to secure his removal.

His life is not in danger in Zimbabwe - he concedes this.

The problem for Shadreck is that he arrived in the UK at 13, he went to school and college in London and all that passing of time means he's ended up as a Londoner in Africa - one that feels he doesn't belong.

"I'd established a life in London, my friends are British; I like what you like," he says.

"The system doesn't look at people, at individuals. Where are the principles and the morals? My family are there, that's what I don't understand."

The Home Office says it looks at each asylum claim on its individual merits.

When questioned about Shadreck's case, a spokesperson told the BBC: "When someone is found not to need our protection, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily. Where they do not we will seek to enforce their departure."

Shadreck was never granted leave to remain in the UK.

His sister was given indefinite leave and his mother discretionary - none of the family can tell me why they can stay and Shadreck can't, though they suspect being female and his sister having a child helped her case to remain in the UK.