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High Court gives gov’t ultimatum to release asylum seekers

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  • Release the asylum seekers or face punitive costs-High court
  • High Court Judge lenient to the respondents- Morgan Moseki

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: Justice Phadi Solomon of the Francistown High Court Judge has given government an ultimatum to release and transport the asylum seekers currently housed at Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants to the Dukwi Refugee Camp with immediate effect or face the consequences.
This is after the lawyer representing the asylum seekers, Morgan Moseki, successfully applied for an urgent application against government’s failure to comply with the initial order to release the asylum seekers a fortnight ago, after a long wrangle. The asylum seekers had taken the Director of Immigration and Citizenship, Officer Commanding of Botswana Prison Service as well as the Officer Commanding for Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrant seeking the court to declare their continued detention at the center was unlawful. Despite the High Court declaring the detention unlawful and ordering their release and transportation to Dukwi Refugee Camp  two weeks ago, the asylum are still stranded in the center.
Last Friday, the court ordered government to release the asylum seekers on or before July 21st or face punitive charges. “The asylum seekers should be released on or before July 21st and be transported to Dukwi refugee camp failing which the government will pay punitive costs to the applicants,” stated Justice Solomon in her order.
Moseki told The Botswana Gazette during the urgent application last week that although he had wanted the Director of Immigration and Citizenship, Officer Commanding of Botswana Prison Service as well as the Officer Commanding for Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrant to be imprisoned but the judge was reluctant. Moseki as well as being disappointed by this, he was concerned by government’s failure to provide the asylum seekers with food. “I visited the warehouse recently but I was surprised to see that everything has been provided while on the other hand the government disputed that. It is so embarrassing for a sovereign state like Botswana to blame UNHCR agency for provision of food while everything has been provided,” he said, adding should the government fail to honor their end of the bargain he will take it on as he is willing to fight for the asylum seekers to the bitter end.

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