Returns to Zimbabwe resume - our response - Refugee Council
March 15, 2011

Returns to Zimbabwe resume – our response

The government yesterday announced they would resume returning refused asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, following a judgment from the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal that said there was no evidence that those being returned were generally at risk from harm.

In response, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We are concerned the government has announced they will begin returning refused asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, amidst reports of government unrest in the country. We are nevertheless encouraged the UKBA has pledged to consider each case to ensure individuals are not under personal threat of persecution if returned to Zimbabwe, and that they will take the circumstances of individuals who have been living in the UK into account.

Life has been extremely tough for a number of Zimbabwean asylum seekers here. Without formal permission to stay in the UK while the situation in their country remained unsafe, and without any support, they have been unable to play a full part in UK society and have been forced to live in limbo in the UK for years.

We therefore strongly urge the government to put the interests of this group of people first.

The government must firstly continue to closely monitor the turbulent situation in the country so they can be sure they are not putting people’s lives at risk by sending them back.

We also urge the government to make a further pledge to offer support to the people they have returned and to monitor their safety while in Zimbabwe—this is essential, not only to ensure people have not been sent to further harm, but so they can be sure resuming returns to the country was the right decision.”