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Zimbabwe: Treatment of people returned to Zimbabwe upon their arrival at Harare Airport, including whether citizens are interrogated (2008 - August 2010)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 17 August 2010
Citation / Document Symbol ZWE103563.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Zimbabwe: Treatment of people returned to Zimbabwe upon their arrival at Harare Airport, including whether citizens are interrogated (2008 - August 2010), 17 August 2010, ZWE103563.E, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In 17 August 2010 correspondence, the Executive Director of the South Africa-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), a group formed in 2003 of expatriate lawyers who document human rights abuses in Zimbabwe (IRDC Jan. 2007), stated:

[T]he Central Intelligence Organisation and other security forces take a keen interest in those who have been deported back to Zimbabwe. This is not only the case regarding those arriving through the airport, but those who use the road as well. In particular, those who have failed in their asylum applications are invariably interrogated by security agents stationed at the airport, or those that deal with those deported from for example Botswana and South Africa when the deportees arrive at various stations e.g. Plumtree or Beitbridge. At Harare International Airport, the practice is much more rigorous as it is the main international airport serving the country. There are rooms to which individuals are taken for interrogation […]. The practice continues in spite of the existence of an inclusive government as the security sector is largely in the hands of ZANU (PF). (ZEF 17 Aug. 2010)

The Executive Director added that he had previously assisted an individual who had been "tortured" after being deported to Zimbabwe from the UK, but he did not provide details of the case (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


International Development Research Centre (IDRC). January 2007. Patrick Kavanagh. "The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum: Campaining for Freedom in the Homeland." [Accessed 17 Aug. 2010]

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF). 17 August 2010. Correspondence with the Executive Director.

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral Sources: Attempts to contact representatives of Harare Airport, Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) were unsuccessful. A representative of the Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe was unable to provide information on this topic.

Internet sites, including: Aviation Security International Magazine, A-Z World Airports Online, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Factiva, Forced Migration Online, International Office for Migration (IOM), Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor,, Law Society of Zimbabwe, Legal Resources Foundation (LRF), Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Sokwanele, Refugee Council Online, United Kingdom (UK) Home Office, United Nations (UN) Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), UN Refworld, United States (US) Department of State, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Situation.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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