In response to the decision of Justice Collins in the High Court today that test cases be adjourned until a series of cases have been tried by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, and that in the meantime the moratorium on returns to Zimbabwe be upheld, Tim Finch, Director of Communications at the Refugee Council said:
“This is great news for Zimbabwean refugees and all of us who’ve campaigned with them to stop the inhumane policy of returning people to Mugabe’s murderous regime.
“As a result of today’s hearing no more asylum seekers will be returned to Zimbabwe until at least October and that will be a huge relief to the men and women who faced being flown back to the country as early as tonight or tomorrow. Many of them are opponents of Mugabe and they would have been in real danger if they’d been sent home. Today’s developments also mean that Zimbabweans locked up in detention centres – more than a hundred in all – should have a much better chance of being released on bail.
“The comments of the judge show that ministers are under intense pressure to back down and stop all returns to Zimbabwe until the situation there improves radically. This is clearly the right thing to do and the government should act now. There is no need for any more expensive and time consuming court hearings when everyone can see that returning people to Zimbabwe is so unsafe.
“The campaigners who took part in the overnight solidarity vigil outside the High Court were literally jumping for joy and dancing in the streets after the High Court hearing. The Refugee Council was proud to have played a prominent role in the vigil and we will continue to fight for justice for Zimbabwean refugees.”
For further information contact press office:
Bob Deffee 020 7346 6712 (Switchboard: 0207 820 3000). For urgent or out of hours inquiries ring 0870 0555500 & ask for pager 865169.
See also our Special Report: Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers have short reprieve from deportation