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UK Home Office apologises to Zim Vigil

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th July 2014

The Home Office has apologised to the Vigil for comments made by an official in a letter turning down an asylum request by a Vigil supporter. 

Zimbabwe Vigil members demonstrating in Brussels on the sidelines of on an EU-Africa Summit
Zimbabwe Vigil members demonstrating in Brussels on the sidelines of on an EU-Africa Summit

The official alleged that anyone could get a letter from the Vigil in support of their asylum claim on payment of a charge so the Vigil letter would be disregarded.

We wrote to the Home Office complaining about this libellous accusation, which derived from a malicious web article about the Vigil, pointing out that the Home Office had admitted it was unfounded three years ago.

Now, in an official letter, a Home Office manager writes ‘I apologise for the offence this has caused, and I appreciate that this is not the first time that we have had to apologise for use of this article by our decision makers. We have a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we consider every claim on its individual merits. Please be assured that our decision makers do not take a cut-and-paste approach to considering individual claims for asylum.’

The letter goes on to say: ‘We recognise the Zimbabwe Vigil as a UK-based pressure group representing the Zimbabwean diaspora.’ It adds that the allegations made in the web article ‘are unfounded and should not be considered as reliable information.’ The letter says officials have been reminded that they should disregard the article in assessing what weight to give to letters written by the Zimbabwe Vigil.

For the full text of the letter see our campaigns page: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/599-letter-from-uk-visas-and-immigration–30062014.

A meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil passed the following motion: The Vigil thanks the Home Office for its reassuring letter. We would, nevertheless, welcome a meeting with the Home Office to discuss its handling of issues to do with Zimbabwean refugees in the UK. One of the reasons we would like such a meeting is to express our anxiety at the growing presence of Zanu PF people in the UK who seem to have been emboldened to emerge into the daylight by the EU’s eagerness to reengage with Mugabe’s illegal regime. We would point out, for instance, that Zanu PF and Mashonaland West boss Temba Mliswa, a notorious crook, apparently has his parents safely in the UK (see: Exiled businessman threatens to take Mliswa to the ICC,  http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_w_exiled-businessman-threatens-to-take-mliswa-to-icc-the-zimbabwean/). One of the comments on the article, by ‘Dave’, says that of the six people who kicked him off his farm at gunpoint four are now in the UK.

Other points

·         The Vigil was interested to see that the Zimbabwean all-white pro-Mugabe group has welcomed the EU’s conciliatory policy to Zimbabwe. We wonder how they regard Mugabe’s latest racist rant demanding that no white person should ever farm in Zimbabwe again, even working for a black boss (see: Whites anti-sanctions group backs Zimbabwe – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit_m_whites-anti-sanctions-group-backs-eu-2/).

·         Thanks to Helen Rukambiro, Deborah Harry and Cecilia Tandi for arriving early to help set up today and to Mary Muteyerwa and David Kudzutu who helped set up last week. Apologies for not mentioning them then.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. 

FOR THE RECORD: 29 signed the register.

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