UKBA has published a new fact finding report on the situation in Zimbabwe. It is, probably not by co-incidence, just in time for the new test case on Zimbabwe, due to begin on 20 October 2010 and in which the Immigration Advosory Service are again acting.
Presumably, UKBA will be seeking to argue that events have moved on since the RN case and the peak in the violence around the elections in 2008. My brief reading of the report suggests nothing unsurprising. On the one hand, casual political violence has declined. On the other, intimidation, repression and lack of protection continues, and there are concerns about what will happen in the run-up to the next elections, which must be held in 2012 but may be held early. It is no proper basis to go behind RN, which was based in part on properly tested oral evidence and some evidence heard in private.
UKBA is alarmingly keen on sending people back to Zimbabwe when the situation there is so unstable and there has certainly been no lasting political change that might establish what UNHCR call a durable change of circumstances. It is hardly the behaviour of a body with a genuinely inquisitorial function, as the tribunal suggested in the recent Sprakab case. Why not grant status now and then, in accordance with the Refugee Convention, review it later if there is a genuinely durable change?