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Zimbabwe: Immigration Removals

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Charles Clarke) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 27 June I made a Statement on the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe and on 6 July I updated the House on that issue. I would like to provide a further update on returns to Zimbabwe.

Our policy on enforcing the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe has not changed. We remain of the view that the correct way to operate a fair but credible asylum system is to consider each asylum claim on its individual merits, to grant protection to those who need it, and to seek to remove those who do not and who have no other basis of stay in the country,
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and who will not leave voluntarily. This is true of all claims, whatever the nationality of the claimant.

The courts have set a hearing on 4 August to consider the evidence provided by the Refugee Legal Centre relating to the treatment of failed asylum seekers upon their return to Zimbabwe. We welcome the opportunity this will provide for all the objective information relating to their treatment to be assessed. Pending the 4 August hearing, out of respect and courtesy to the clearly expressed wishes of the court, we have agreed not to enforce the removal of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

This Government continue to have grave concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, and continue to press for an end to abuses. We will continue to provide protection through the asylum system for Zimbabweans with a well founded fear of persecution.

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