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British MP condemns deportation of man to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Frank Cook, Labour Member of Parliament for Stockton North, has criticised the deportation of Blaise Kamba, a failed asylum seeker, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Kamba had been in the United Kingdom since 2006; he fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo, because he feared for his life due to his political beliefs.

Kamba was deported by the UK Border Agency to Kinshasa, the capital, on Tuesday night. A church group planned to meet Kamba there, but on arrival, he was detained by Congolese authorities and taken to a high security stockade. Cook says "no one knows what his fate will be".

Cook, and 42 other MPs, signed an early day motion for an immediate moratorium on deportations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He has also written to Phil Woolas MP, the British immigration minister, condemning the deportation. In a press release, Mr Cook said: "I... want Mr Woolas to tell me how much evidence he requires before reconsidering a policy which puts a terrible stain on the UK’s human rights record".

Cook commented that “it is an outrage that Mr Woolas and his Government colleagues seek to argue that people returning to the Congo are not at risk when the evidence proves otherwise". A 2005 BBC report found that the DRC's secret service, the Agence nationale de renseignements, detain some returning asylum seekers at the airport, in order to "show them what they did was not good".

The UK Border Agency told The Guardian on May 27 that "we continue to monitor developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and will take decisions on a case-by-case basis in light of the most current situation. The court of appeal on 3 December 2008 upheld a ruling that failed asylum seekers are not at risk of persecution or ill-treatment on return to Democratic Republic of the Congo simply because they have claimed asylum". Cook commented on this decision, saying that "the risks are very real and very severe".

Kamba's two younger sisters, however, remain in the UK.


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