They reported that there are eight Zimbabwean women currently being held in Yarl's Wood IRC.
Faina read to me the petition which the women who are on hunger strike had sent to the Home Office on Sept. 9.
The petition was dated Aug. 9 2007 and it read:
"We are failed asylum seekers and given the very desperate situation in Zimbabwe which has been commented upon by the United Nations plus all major countries including South Africa, we cannot condone the return of us at this time. Please can you release us or hunger strike on 10 September 2007."
Maud, Zandile and Rose, in separate telephone conversations, all confirmed that this is what the letter said and that they, together with Pauline Chitekeshe, signed the petition. They also confined that they started the hunger strike on Monday, Sept. 10 and are going to stay on hunger strike until they are released from detention.
They all complained that they did not receive adequate legal representation during the fast track process under which their applications for political asylum were considered.
Faina, Rose and Maud are Zimbabwean nationals who used Malawian passports to travel to the U.K. They have no family, friends, relatives or support networks in Malawi where the Home Office is planning to send them. They fear that the Malawian government will pass them on into the hands of the Zimbabwean authorities.
The three women reported that on Monday evening they were called, separately, to meetings with Home Office representatives and were given removal directions and a letter which read:
"I refer to your letter of 9 August 2007 in which you request temporary admission/bail for yourself.
"You are all detained because your asylum applications have been considered under fast track procedures at Yarl's Wood. You have all, already had your asylum applications refused and can be in no doubt that the Secretary of State does not accept your claims. These decisions to refuse you asylum have all been upheld by the AIT at every stage of the appeal process. You therefore have little incentive to respond to any terms of bail/temporary admission.
"With regard to your specific fears of the country situation in Zimbabwe, your concerns are noted and supported by objective evidence. The Home Office published policy means that removals of failed asylum seekers are not enforced to Zimbabwe and so I would like to allay your fears of being forcibly returned. However, as the Home Office plans to return you to Malawi (as your IS82's or 151A/B's) show, the country situation has no bearing in your situation."
The letter was signed by a D. Smith with the designation "CIO/HEO".