"Give all Zimbabweans a temporary right to stay in the UK" - Refugee Council
July 3, 2008

“Give all Zimbabweans a temporary right to stay in the UK”

This week, a court hearing on whether Zimbabwean asylum seekers could be returned to Zimbabwe was adjourned to wait for the outcome of an unrelated case going through the House of Lords.

The hearing was to decide whether to grant permission to appeal an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) ruling that said that the government could begin forcibly sending people back to Zimbabwe.

The adjournment means that the stay on removals of Zimbabweans remains in place, although they are no closer to breaking out of the limbo situation many have found themselves in for so long, with no entitlement to work, no access to accommodation or state support.

Donna Covey, Chief executive of the Refugee Council said:

“The legal ping pong over the removal of Zimbabweans is now becoming farcical. The Judges in explaining their decision today said as much, making the point that the test case going through the courts is more than a year old, and based on even older evidence, while the situation in Zimbabwe is clearly deteriorating day by day.

“It’s now time for the government to drop the legal action and do the decent and sensible thing. It should give all Zimbabweans a temporary right to stay in the UK until the situation in their country improves markedly. This would allow the Zimbabweans, many of whom are well qualified, to work to support themselves and to carry on making plans for rebuilding their shattered country once the Mugabe regime falls.

“The current situation, where brave Zimbabweans who have stood up for democracy and human rights are left homeless and destitute in the UK, having been refused any protection, is a disgrace.”