Detention Watch from Zimbabwe Association (23-11-06)

LONDON - "What price justice?" is a new campaign launched to persuade the government to guarantee an adequately funded legal aid system ensuring quality representation and access to justice for all. The government is planning to reform legal aid once again, which might result in hundreds of legal ai

d practitioners giving up legal aid work. Many vulnerable clients may find themselves unrepresented. Law Society surveys indicate that 74 per cent of immigration practitioners said that their firms were less likely to undertake legal aid work and 67 per cent thought that the quality of advice and representation they offered would decline. This is a major problem for us all. To support the campaign sign the online petition or write to your MP. To sign the petition send an email to: [email protected].
Several more detainees have been released on bail over the last week. The ZA knows of less than 10 Zimbabwean asylum seekers still in detention as we write.
Worrying stories of companies operating scams continue to be featured on Zimbabwean websites. Please for your own protection check that companies have a good reputation before you give them your business. Many people seem to have lost funds and goods by being too trusting with remittance agencies and freight companies. We would also suggest that you check the reputation of any legal firms offering assistance to recover your losses. It would be cruel to be robbed twice.
While on this theme people need to understand that just because an advert for a company appears in a newspaper or website, it does not mean that the newspaper/website is giving you a guarantee that the company is a good one. Newspapers take adverts for commercial reasons. They are often unable to check out every advert placed in their publications. We all have to learn to question things for ourselves, and take reasonable steps such as asking around about various services. Have any of your trusted friends tried a certain company? Did they get a good service? Adverts often promise things they may not be able to deliver. Look at the words. Do you think they can do what they are offering? How will they do it? When? People sometimes promote a company and sing its praises because they are being paid to do so. Be aware of this. Don’t take everything at face value.
In the last few weeks we’ve had a disturbing number of sad stories of Zimbabwean women going “astray” in the UK. Discarded husbands have been complaining of their shock at arriving in this country to find that their wives who came over before them had taken up excessive drinking and men. When the angry husbands tried to get their wives to behave in a more traditional way, the wives rebuffed them saying that now they were in the West they were equal and could do what they wanted. Equality doesn’t mean a woman has to become a prostitute or a drunkard, or take up nightclubbing and neglect her children. To achieve equality one also has to carry responsibilities. News of two cases of children from such marriages ending up in the care of social services has reached us. How widespread is this problem?
We can be contacted at the office on 020 7549 0355 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, messages may be left on the answer machine at other times, or by fax 020 7549 0356 or email: [email protected]. We also have a website at www.zimbabweassociation.org .

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