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Cases are considered on their individual merits, consideration being given to changed circumstances and fresh information which justifies a reversal of the previous decision. Furthermore, there is provision for consideration of a submission, which amounts to a fresh claim, if it is significantly different from the material that has previously been considered.
(2) what measures are taken to ensure that asylum seekers from the Kurdish area of Iraq deported from the UK are given safe passage to their home area; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The Government announced their intention in February 2004 to commence enforced returns to Iraq, but this has yet to start. The overriding reason has been the need to co-ordinate our operational logistics and preparations with the changes in the administrations in Iraq since this announcement was made. The enforced return of any individual to Iraq will be directed to areas assessed as sufficiently stable and where the Home Office is satisfied that the individual concerned will not be at risk. Great care will be taken with all travel arrangements.
A programme of assisted voluntary returns is operated by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on behalf of the Home Office. Iraqi citizens continue to return to Iraq voluntarily on the overland route from Jordan to Baghdad with the assistance of the IOM. The Home Office does not record the destination of returnees in its statistics.
Mr. McNulty: I regret that information on the number of people who have exhausted all appeal rights and are awaiting removal from the UK is not available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Some individuals whose asylum application was unsuccessful may have left the UK without informing the immigration service.
Information on the total number of cases awaiting an initial decision or appeal outcome, and on applications, initial decision outcomes, and appeal outcomes by nationality, is published quarterly and annually on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the countries from which asylum claims have been refused on the grounds of the internal flight alternative; 
Each asylum and human rights claim is considered on its individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights
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(ECHR). Applications may be refused for more than one reason. We do not record on electronic databases whether refusals were related to the availability of internal relocation as a means of avoiding persecution in any particular country. The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case files.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, with particular reference to the prohibition of refoulement of asylum seekers. 
Mr. McNulty: The Charter of Fundamental Rights is a political declaration, which sets out fundamental rights, freedoms and principles, including right to asylum (Article 18 of the Charter) and non-refoulement (Article 19 (2)), which already exist in the EU acquis.
UK law and practise is fully in accordance with the non-refoulement principle. Each asylum and human rights claim is considered on its individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Claimants who meet the definition of a refugee in the 1951 Convention are granted asylum. If they do not qualify for asylum, but there are other circumstances that make them particularly vulnerable and engage our obligations under the ECHR, they are granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave. If their application is refused, they have a right of appeal to the independent Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. In this way we ensure that we provide protection to those who need it.
Mr. McNulty: Each application is considered against the background of the latest available country information from a wide range of reliable sources including intergovernmental organisations (such as the UN), governmental sources (including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and human rights organisations (for example Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch). Further inquiries in the country of origin are sometimes undertaken when additional information is needed in order to reach a decision.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether adjudicators in asylum cases are expected to have knowledge or experience of the country from which the asylum seeker they are considering comes from and may be deported to; and how the Government provides them with up-to-date information. 
Immigration Judges (formerly known as Adjudicators) are not expected to have knowledge or experience of the country from which a particular asylum seeker comes.The appeal system is adversarial, so the burden rests with the parties to produce all evidence they wish the Immigration Judge to take into account in reaching his determination. The Home Office
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is a party to every asylum appeal and, as such, is under a duty to place all relevant evidence before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review his decision to exclude Northern Ireland as a destination for asylum seeker dispersal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Northern Ireland is not currently a dispersal area. Those making their application for asylum in Northern Ireland may, if they wish, receive support, including accommodation, there. The Government keep their policy in relation to dispersal under review but there is no intention, at this stage, to begin dispersing to Northern Ireland asylum seekers who have claimed asylum elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the prospects for the safety of (a) Hatem Mohammed Hussain, (b) Bergu Mohammed, (c) Bakery Elzin Mohammed, (d) Bakhet Adam Ali and (e) Ismail Mohamed Jabar if they return to Khartoum. 
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of Sudanese asylum seekers who have returned to the UK after deportation to Khartoum in each of the last two years. 
Information on the numbers of asylum applications and removals of failed asylum seekers is published in the quarterly asylum statistics on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Asylum numbers are continuing to fall dramatically year on year, and provisional figures for the whole of 2004 show UK asylum applications fell by 33 per cent. including dependants, twice the rate of the rest of Europe.
This has been achieved through measures such as the closure of Sangatte, rolling out detection technology, posting immigration officers in France and Belgium, ending appeals in the UK for nationals of safe countries, introducing new visa regimes and bringing in tough legislation to deal with abuse of the system and delays.
Consequently the number of cases awaiting an initial decision has continued to fall, to 8,700 cases at the end of March 2005, the lowest level for more than a decade
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(and less than half the level of a year earlier); of these 4,400 cases were classified as work in progress i.e. the application had been outstanding for six months or less.
Information on asylum initial decision outcomes and appeal outcomes is published quarterly and annually on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Statistics on the number of illegal entrants who are removed from the UK are published in the annual Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom". Information for 2005 is not scheduled to be published until the summer of 2006.
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