‘Let’s make sure we all step up if we can to show solidarity.’
A Quaker human rights defender is facing another struggle against deportation, with local Friends rallying to raise funds and offer support.
Josy, from Norton Meeting, managed to find a barrister who helped her resist being forced onto a deportation flight last autumn, when Friends were first alerted to the threat. But the Zimbabwean Quaker, who faces possible imprisonment and torture if she is deported, has had to submit a fresh claim for asylum.
At the last deportation attempt, Josy sustained a leg injury when resisting up to six enforcement operatives, prevented only by a successful last-minute appeal by her barrister.
According to her Go Fund Me donations page, ‘Josy’s active defence of human rights and involvement with Zimbabwe’s main opposition party makes her a target for brutal reprisals from the ruling party, Zanu-PF. Her barrister believes there are sufficient grounds for her to be awarded asylum’.
Friends at Norton Meeting have organised the page to raise funds to contribute to Josy’s legal costs, but more donations are still needed for her to have a chance to avoid deportation. Mary Garrett, from Norton Meeting, who organised the campaign, urged Friends to keep donating to meet the target of at least £7,000. ‘Josy is keeping busy with her volunteering for local charities and her active support of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the CCC. But the fear of what might happen if her fresh claim fails is a burden she carries all the time. As always she keeps up a cheerful front but the deportation attempt last September, with all its violence, has left her traumatised. And, worse, she lives in fear that a similar attempt may be made again, this time successfully. By funding a proper legal defence for Josy you are doing the only thing that can prevent this from happening.’
Quaker Sam Walton tweeted: ‘Let’s make sure we all step up if we can to show solidarity.’
A Quaker from Harare, Josy arrived in the UK in 2018 after fleeing her home country, leaving her daughter behind. She has been a part of Norton Meeting in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, for the past four years.
A longstanding advocate of women’s rights, Josy is a former broadcaster, filmmaker and secretary of Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe. Her activism in allyship of LGBTQI+ rights in Zimbabwe and in the UK also places her at risk under current Zimbabwean policy.
The donations page is at https://gofund.me/100d78da.
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