Government stands firm on removals to Zimbabwe

The government yesterday refused to stop returning failed asylum
seekers to Zimbabwe yesterday, despite hunger strikes by over fifty
Zimbabwean immigration detainees.

Campaign group The UK Zimbabwean Community Campaign to Defend
Asylum Seekers claims that every failed asylum seeker returned to
the country is handed over to the authorities on arrival in Harare
and detained for questioning.

The Home Office said that 57 detainees were on hunger strike in
protest of the policy but yesterday, speaking in the House of
Commons, home secretary Charles Clarke said removals of failed
asylum seekers to the country would continue.

Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said that
it was “extremely disappointed” by the
government’s decision.

She said: “Our responsibilities are clear: even if someone is
not accepted by our government as being a refugee, we do not send
them back into danger, and Zimbabwe is clearly not safe.  The case
grows ever stronger for an independent body, charged with upholding
the right to asylum, to make these decisions.”

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