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The Socialist 4 April 2007 |
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Leicester protesters challenge Home Office
A LIVELY and very tuneful demonstration of the Congolese community took place in Leicester on 28 March protesting at deportations of Congolese asylum seekers back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Steve Score Leicester
The march, supported by Leicester Civil Rights Movement, Leicester Socialist Party and Leicester University Socialist Students, was one of seven taking place around the country.
In recent elections, Western-backed Joseph Kabila came to power in the DRC. It's claimed that this heralds a "new period of peace". But following a horrific war that saw the deaths of four million people since 1998, Congo is still not safe for the return of refugees. Last week clashes between government forces and opposition militias resulted in 600 dead.
Chairman of the Leicestershire Congo Community Association, Pastor Desire Mutumba said: "We have reports that people who have been sent back to Congo have been visited at night by the secret service, taken to prison, tortured and treated in the most inhuman way you can imagine. They say 'you are traitors who fled the country'."
A Home Office official report on the DRC says there is no risk to failed asylum seekers forcibly returned to Kinshasa, but there is to be a Country Guidance Tribunal to challenge this.
Congo's vast mineral wealth continues to be exploited for the profit of rich multinationals whilst its population live in poverty.