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23 Feb 2004 : Column 262W—continued

Zimbabwe

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people sought asylum from Zimbabwe in the last 12 months; how many applications (a) succeeded and (b) failed; how many failed applicants have been removed; and how many were white Zimbabwean farmers in each case. [154041]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 1 February 2004]: The following tables show the number of asylum applications, initial decisions and appeal outcomes between October 2002 and September 2003 and the number of removals between October 2002 and June 2003, the latest published figures available, for nationals of Zimbabwe. Initial decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same period. Appeals do not necessarily relate to refusals of grants of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave made in the same period. Removals do not necessarily relate to initial decisions or appeal outcomes made in the same period.

Information on the ethnic origin or occupation of asylum applicants is unavailable. The requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

Information on asylum applications, initial decisions on asylum applications, appeal outcomes and removals by nationality is published in quarterly web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom, available from the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html. The next quarterly publication, covering the fourth quarter of 2003 and provisional full year data, will be published on 24 February.

Asylum applications(72) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, and initial decisions(73), October 2002 to September 2003, nationals of Zimbabwe
Principal applicants

Decisions
ApplicationsGrants of:
ZimbabweTotalPortIn countryTotal decisionsAsylumELRHPDLTotal refusals
2002
October1,4551,17028070527510n/an/a420
November96561036085531510n/an/a530
December3205027077029510n/an/a465
2003
January495604304001255n/an/a270
February2857021529585*n/an/a210
March29585210490135*n/an/a350
April3358026031090n/a5215
May2307515543095n/a5*330
June2505519040590n/a*315
July2855523028550n/a5230
August1852516027035n/a*235
September2406018034550n/a5290
October 2002 to September 2003 total5,3352,3952,9405,5601,640405153,865

(72) Provisional figures rounded to nearest 5, with '*' = 1 or 2.

(73) Information is of initial determination decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

Note:

n/a not applicable.


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Outcome of appeals(74) , (75) determined by adjudicators of the Immigration Appellate Authority, excluding dependants, October 2002 to September 2003, nationals of Zimbabwe
Number of principal appellants

Appeals determined by adjudicators(75)
AllowedDismissedWithdrawn
ZimbabweTotalTotalAs percentage of determinedTotalAs percentage of determinedTotalAs percentage of determined
2002
October2851053716057207
November255903515059156
December265100381555953
2003
January300852820568154
February205703412560105
March3101003219563156
April3801153125066103
May4051152926565256
June315953020564206
July4051453624560154
August305702322072155
September4001052628070154
October 2002 to September 2003 total3,8301,195312,450641855

(74) Provisional figures rounded to nearest 5 (except percentages). Figures may not add up due to independent rounding. Data on appeal outcomes by nationality in this table are derived from electronic sources.

(75) Figures include cases withdrawn by the Home Office, as well as the appellant.


Removals and voluntary(76) departures of principal asylum applicants (excluding dependants): October 2002 to June 2003(77) , (78) , (79)

ZimbabweNumber
2002
October10
November10
December10
2003
January*
February5
March10
April5
May5
June5
Total55

(76) Includes persons departing "voluntarily" after enforcement action had been initiated against them, persons leaving under assisted voluntary return programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration, and removals on safe third country grounds.

(77) Figures rounded to the nearest five with * denoting 1 or 2 and may not sum to total due to rounding.

(78) Data have been estimated due to data quality issues.

(79) Provisional figures.


Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the removal of failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. [154042]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 10 February 2004]: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced in January 2002 a suspension of removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. This was in response to concerns about the serious deterioration in the situation in Zimbabwe in the build-up to the presidential election held in March that year. We did not, at that time, regard it as unsafe to return failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, but in view of the rapidly changing conditions we considered that it would be appropriate not to enforce returns.

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The Government's position is, as it has been since January 2002, that each asylum (and human rights) claim made by a Zimbabwean national will be considered on its individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Each application is considered against the background of the latest available country information including that obtained from and through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

We do of course recognise that conditions in Zimbabwe are such that there are individuals who are able to demonstrate a need for international protection. Where they meet the definition of a refugee in the 1951 convention, asylum is granted. There may also be individuals whose circumstances make them particularly vulnerable and who would engage our obligations under the ECHR. Where this is the case these individuals will be granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave.

In the first nine months of last year, we granted asylum to 755 Zimbabweans and granted other forms of protection to 30 others. These statistics show that we are giving protection to the significant number of people who are found to be in need of it.

If an application is refused, there will be a right of appeal to the independent appellate authorities against that decision. Should a claim be refused and any appeal be unsuccessful that means that, for that individual, return to Zimbabwe would be safe. That is why we consider it reasonable to expect an individual in that position to leave voluntarily.

However, although it would be safe for failed asylum seekers to return to Zimbabwe, our view at present is that in the wider context of the Government's position on Zimbabwe, it would be inappropriate forcibly to return them at this time. The exceptions we would make to that policy are in cases where a failed asylum seeker

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had a serious criminal record or their presence in the United Kingdom was not otherwise conducive to the public good. In such circumstances enforced return to Zimbabwe would be considered by Ministers on a case by case basis.

The policy remains under continuous review.

HEALTH

Road Safety

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission a study of the effect of time delay in summoning help on fatalities and serious injuries following road crashes. [154918]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government's objective is to save more lives by providing faster, more responsive emergency ambulance services, with better trained staff; and to deliver improved patient assessment and treatment while making more use of technology.

Immediately life-threatening emergency calls (Category A) should be responded to 75 per cent. of the time within eight minutes, irrespective of location. Clinical evidence shows that achievement of the 75 per cent. standard could save as many as 1,800 lives each year.

Other emergency calls that are not life threatening should be responded to 95 per cent. of the time within 14 minutes in urban areas and 19 minutes in rural areas.

The latest information about ambulance performance is contained in the Department of Health Statistical Bulletin, "Ambulance Services, England 2002–03". Copies of the bulletin have been placed in the Library.


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