Zimbabwe asylum returns to resume
Published 14/03/2011 | 18:32
Britain will resume enforcing the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, the Government has said.
The move comes after asylum judges ruled there was no evidence that those being returned would generally be at risk of harm.
But each case will still be considered "on their individual merits and with enormous care", the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said.
Matthew Coats, the agency's head of immigration, said: "We welcome the court's findings. The UK Border Agency will continue to consider all asylum applications from Zimbabwe on their individual merits and with enormous care.
"We prefer people who are here illegally to leave voluntarily and we offer an assistance package to help them re-integrate into their home country.
"For those who choose not to do so, it becomes necessary to enforce their departure."
Mr Justice Blake, president of the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, said there was now "significantly less politically-motivated violence in Zimbabwe".
Ruling that failed asylum seekers could be returned in three out of the four cases he was considering, Mr Justice Blake said those being returned to Harare "will in general face no significant difficulties".
Those returning to the rural areas of Matabeleland North or Matabeleland South would also generally be "highly unlikely to face significant difficulty from Zanu-PF elements, including the security forces", he said.
But he warned that the situation was not uniform across the country and was likely to be different for those without Zanu-PF connections returning to other rural areas.