Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Bayford expected to file urgent application to stop repatriation of Eritrean national team

Prominent local human rights law firm, Bayford and Associates is this afternoon expected to file an urgent application with the High Court to stop the repatriation of 10 Eritrean national team players who want to seek political asylum in Botswana.

Dick Bayford of Bayford and Associates who is representing the 10 football players  wrote to The Office of the President and Botswana Police Service this morning giving them up to 13 00 hours today to have given him the assurance that they will not repatriate the ten footballers to Eritrea.

Bayford stated in the letter that, “if we do not receive your assurance then, we shall accordingly approach the High Court for an urgent application.” At the time of going to press both the Office of the President and Botswana Police Service had not given the assurance.

The letter, a copy of which has been passed to the Sunday Standard states that, “we act on behalf of the Eritrean Movement for democracy and Human Rights; a Pretoria based autonomous, non profit, civic movement that strives for the promotion of human and democratic rights in Eritrea.

“Client has instructed us to address this letter to you on behalf of certain Eritrean nationals, approximately ten in number, who are members of the football national team of that country that had visited the Republic of Botswana for a match with the latter national team as part of the World Cup Football qualifiers.

“Today (14th instant) the said individuals declined to depart from the Republic of Botswana and sought political asylum from the host country, citing various reasons therefor. We are instructed that whilst the rest of the team has departed, the said individuals have remained in the country and are presently in your custody.

“As required by the Refugees (Recognition and Control) (Act 25:01, Laws of Botswana), under the circumstances, the said individuals have to be processed by a Committee established under section 5 (1) (a) of the Act for purposes of considering their application. Their removal from Botswana would in the circumstances be illegal. Our Client is informed that there are plans by the Botswana Government to forcibly remove the said individuals from the country, circumventing, as it were the process.

“Kindly give us your assurance by 13000 today that the said individuals would not be removed to allow for the process under the Act to be effected.


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