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Asylum Seekers/Immigration

Home Department written question – answered on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education & Skills Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the countries to which the Home Office does not currently return failed asylum seekers.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

We seek to remove all failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants wherever possible. All asylum and human rights claims are considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Should a claim be refused and any appeal before the independent Immigration Appellate Authority be unsuccessful, it means that for that individual it is safe to return.

The only country to which, as a matter of policy, we do not at present generally enforce the return of failed asylum seekers is Zimbabwe. This policy is based not on asylum or human rights reasons but on our view that in the wider context of the Government's position on Zimbabwe, it would be inappropriate forcibly to return failed asylum seekers applicable at this time.

However, it is open to Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers to return voluntarily. Zimbabweans may apply for the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VAARP) operated by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on behalf of the Home Office.

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