1 INTRODUCTION This report provides a brief top-line analysis of 267 Zimbabweans who sought assistance from the Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project (ZTVP), located in Johannesburg, South Africa, over the past one and half years. In recent times, South Africa has seen an increase in the number of Zimbabweans coming into South Africa linked to the political crisis in that country. In particular, since 2002, there has been a massive increase in the number of Zimbabweans requesting political asylum in South Africa. To illustrate, in 2002 approximately 120 Zimbabweans applied for asylum. In 2003, this number increased to approximately 2700, and trebled to 8500 in 2004. By the end of 2005, approximately 16000 Zimbabweans had applied for asylum in South Africa1. Recent statistics further show that the movement into South Africa of Zimbabweans fleeing persecution is not abating. Instead, for the months of January, February and March 2006, Zimbabwe has come to represent the main country from which the largest number of newly arrived asylum seekers in South Africa derive. In the first quarter of 2006 alone, 7211 Zimbabweans applied for refugee status in South Africa2. A number of studies have sought to document the deepening political crisis in Zimbabwe, patterns of violence and torture in that country, and their links to key political processes, such as elections. In September 2005, the ZTVP undertook a snap survey of Zimbabweans living in five different locations in Gauteng province to obtain a better sense of potential clients that the ZTVP might have to deal with, as well as the proportion of Zimbabweans who might potentially qualify for assistance in terms of need3. That study found evidence to suggest that there would be an increasing need to assist Zimbabweans who had been victims of torture residing in South Africa. To be able to do so, the study concluded that there was a pressing need to gain a better understanding of the position and plight of Zimbabweans who have come to South Africa in search of refuge. It is this need which this brief report seeks to address. The report provides information about Zimbabweans who reported having been victims of organized violence and torture in Zimbabwe and who are now living in South Africa. It includes information about Zimbabweans who approached the Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project in Johannesburg for assistance. As such, the data analysed in this report cannot be construed as being representative of the entire Zimbabwean population in South Africa. Nonetheless, the 1 Statistics obtained from the UNHCR and the Department of Home Affairs. Department of Home Affairs, Directorate: Refugee Affairs, 2006 First Quarterly Report on Asylum Statistics (January, February, March 2006) (Pretoria: Refugee Affairs Directorate, April 2006), 5. 3 Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A window on the situation of Zimbabweans living in Gauteng (Johannesburg: Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project, September 2005). 2 3

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