In response to news about removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The Refugee Council opposed the resumption of forced returns to Zimbabwe when the policy change was announced last November and we have consistently lobbied the government to stop the removals. We are profoundly worried about asylum seekers being returned to Zimbabwe in the current circumstances. Zimbabwe is patently unsafe and we call on the Government to stop all removals until the situation there really has improved.
This issue highlights the fundamental importance of careful scrutiny of any decision to return a failed asylum-seeker to a country which is unstable.
We call on the Government to ensure that the UK really is a place of sanctuary and urge the minister to declare that we will not return people to countries which are not safe. Asylum is a human right, and officials looking at decisions for individuals should not be trying to reach a target, which inevitably skews their judgment.
The call is growing louder for an independent body for all decisions on asylum – including whether it is safe to return – so that policy on asylum is ruled by safety rather than targets for removals..”
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