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`Decision makers should know about threats faced by asylum seekers’: IAS

Under-use of information can put them at risk


6th February 2010:
Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) wants the decision makers to know clearly the risks the asylum seekers face, if returned to their country of origin.

A new report, Refugee Roulette, found the information was crucial to deciding the fate of the asylum cases, but was not used enough.

The findings come at a time when the British Government has made clear its strong stand on asylum cases. The Home Office has, in fact, categorically stated that all asylum seekers must prove they face persecution at home and that authorities there cannot address it properly.

In case of Zimbabwean, the Home Office has already asserted that all Zimbabwean claiming asylum in the UK do not need international protection.

The report, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, brings to the fore the fact that the under-use of this information could put the asylum seekers at risk of further persecution or death. It examined barriers to accessing the information and how this could be improved to make the asylum process fairer and more rigorous.

The findings followed 18 months of scrutiny of the asylum system by the IAS. The focus was on how information contained in Country of Origin Information reports was used.

The information is on the social, judicial and political conditions in a country, which an asylum seeker is fleeing.

The report found 99 per cent of legal representatives the IAS interviewed said the information which gave a context to each individual’s case and helped prove credibility was not given enough weight.

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