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UK to deport failed asylum seekers

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The British government on Thursday announced that it would deport all failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the United Kingdom saying the once crisis-ravaged country is now relatively stable enough to support the livelihoods of the returnees.

“We have today announced the resumption of enforced returns to Zimbabwe for failed asylum seekers judged by the independent courts to have no right to remain in the UK,” Minister for Immigration Damian Green told the British Parliament.

“This decision reflects the improved stability in Zimbabwe since 2009 and the UK court’s view that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection.

“Those facing return will join the hundreds who have returned voluntarily, responding to calls by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to return home and help rebuild their country.

“The British Government takes its international responsibilities seriously and will always grant protection to those in genuine need, and continue to monitor events in Zimbabwe.”

The UK last carried out forced returns to Zimbabwe in September 2006 as the economic and political situation in the country threatened the safety of individuals.

But according to Green Zimbabwe was now considered stable enough since the formation of the inclusive government last year.

“I am announcing today our intention to end the current suspension of enforced returns of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe,” he said.

“There are some Zimbabweans who continue to have a well founded fear of persecution; we continue to grant protection to those people.

As with any other nationality, every case is considered on its individual merits and against the background of the latest available country information from a wide range of reliable sources including international organisations, non-governmental organisations and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.”

“This will mean that failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe will from now on be treated in exactly the same way as failed asylum seekers of all other countries when it comes to enforcing returns.

Those found not to be in need of protection have always been expected to return home.

We prefer these individuals to return voluntarily and many hundreds have done so.”

Green said it was in everyone’s interest for people to return to Zimbabwe and use their skills to support themselves and help rebuild the country.

“The government supports this process and is in active dialogue with Zimbabweans to explore how this process can be further assisted,” he said.

He said the UK would offer material help to those who choose to voluntarily return to Zimbabwe.

The UK said there were three programmes available under which all returnees would receive support in acquiring travel documentation, flight costs to their country of origin and onward domestic transport, airport assistance at departure and arrival airports and, for those eligible, up to £1500 worth of reintegration assistance per person including a £500 relocation grant on departure for immediate resettlement needs and, once home, a range of reintegration options which were delivered “in kind”.

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