Helensburgh asylum seeker faces serious threat to life if she is deported
Last Saturday afternoon I met up with Harriet Ndlovu and a few of her friends in Colquhoun Square. Originally from Zimbabwe, Harriet has made Helensburgh her home.
Many local people will know Harriet personally or will have seen her around the town. She is an active parishioner of St Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church and was recently nominated as one of The Advertiser’s Lockdown Heroes, having spent the last few months making facemasks for charity groups and vulnerable people in the town.
Unlike most others in the square last Saturday however, we weren’t there to share a socially distanced coffee or to catch up with friends. Rather, we were there to highlight the appalling human rights record of the regime in Zimbabwe and to plead with the Home Office not to deport Harriet back to the country from which she fled in fear for her life, thirteen years ago.
Harriet is the living reality of the UK government’s hostile environment policy.Brendan O’Hara MP
With the demise of Robert Mugabe, we had all hoped that a new, open, tolerant and inclusive Zimbabwe would emerge. Sadly, that hasn’t happened, and Zimbabwe remains a very dangerous place for anyone brave enough to speak out against a regime which routinely imprisons, tortures and murders its political opponents.
And as one of those political opponents, that could be the future facing Harriet if the UK government gets its way.
Over the past twelve months, I have raised Harriet’s case in parliament. I have written to the Home Secretary and I have had personal meetings with the UK Immigration Minister, but such is their determination to be “tough on immigration”, they refuse to budge. As a result, Harriet faces a terrifying future, not knowing when the knock on the door will come and when she’ll be sent back. Harriet is the living reality of the UK government’s hostile environment policy.
Harriet isn’t a faceless or nameless statistic, she, like tens of thousands of thousands of others seeking refuge and freedom from persecution, is our friend and our neighbour.
What’s happening to Harriet is wrong and as her friends and neighbours we must stand up and help fight her corner.
To read more on Harriet’s battle to stay in the UK visit