Refugee Action upholds right to protection under UN Convention

Last updated June 19, 2012Press release

In advance of the Supreme Court ruling concerning the case of RT and KM (Zimbabwe), Refugee Action Chief Executive, Dave Garratt, said:

“Refugee Action supports the principle that a person should not be expected to lie about their political belief in order to avoid persecution upon return to their country of origin.

In the case of RT (Zimbabwe), we believe that UKBA should follow the Court of Appeal?s judgement that those who hold no strong political view may well be persecuted for opinions that are attributed to them by the authorities of their home country, and that this is enough to bring a claim within the definition of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

It is entirely inconsistent of the Home Office to expect the highest level of honesty from asylum seekers in order to provide them with protection in the UK, but then to deny them protection on the basis that they could lie in order to avoid persecution in their home country.

Even if they were willing to do so, individuals may struggle to convince the authorities in the country of origin of their loyalty to the regime. This may be for reasons of length of time spent in the UK, or their unfamiliarity with the political messages, activities or even campaign songs that they may be required to recount.

Refugee Action firmly believes that the risk of persecution for a political belief that an individual does not hold should invoke the right to protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention”.

ENDS

For more information please contact Antony Watson, Press and PR Officer at Refugee Action, on 0207 952 1530 or email: antonyw@refugee-action.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • Refugee Action is an independent, national charity working to enable refugees to build new lives. We provide practical advice and assistance for newly arrived asylum seekers and long-term commitment to their settlement through community development work, and received 30,000 visits from asylum seekers last year. As one of the country’s leading agencies in the field, Refugee Action has 30 year’ experience in pioneering innovative work in partnership with refugees. For more information, please visit www.refugee-action.org.uk