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May 02, 2023

Answer 1:

In the given case study, Vinnie belongs to Zimbabwe and came to United Kingdom as student on September to study journalism in the University of Birmingham. Vinnie has always been interested in politics and  had been interested in it from a very young age so when he came to the United Kingdom he started showing interest in the MDC- T, which is a political party. Vinnie had always been a supporter of MDC – T. Very soon, Vinnie became an MDC activist and started posting aggressive posts regarding the ruling Zanu-FP party of Robert Mugabe. In the year 2016, Vinnie received a phone call from his father asking him to return home as the CIO agents had come to their home calling Vinnie a traitor as he criticized the government and spoke about overthrowing him. Vinnie was scared from this activity and he thought for applying for asylum. Vinnie feared going home and he wanted to apply for master’s course in the United Kingdom. Vinnie was very unsure as to what he should be doing about his stay. Based on the facts above, the issue that had to be decided here is the strengths and weaknesses of a claim for asylum.

According to the definition contained in the 1951 Convention, a refugee is a person who fears persecution in their home country because of which they seek asylum in some other country. The dateline of 1951 was a result of the wish of the Government at the time when the Convention came into existence. The dateline was set to limit the obligations of a refugee. However, with the passage of time, there was a need to establish the provisions of 1951 Conventions. Thus, a new protocol relating to the status of Refugees was made applicable. The Convention of 1951 contains three types of provisions relating to a refugee:

First, is the basic definition of a refugee, that is who is to be called a refugee or not. Second is the provision related to the legal status of a refugee, this includes the rights and duties of a refugee. Nevertheless, the provisions do not have any influence on the determination of the status of a refugee. Lastly, the provisions relating to the implementation of the laws from an administrative standpoint applicable to any given situation or to any refugee can be dealt here. Thus, in the case study the definition of the term refugee as provided in the 1951 Convention is applicable to Vinnie, as he fears persecution in his home country.

Based on the Country of Origin and Policy Note; Zimbabwe Opposition to the Government Jan 2017, the Amnesty International Annual report on Zimbabwe 2016/17 and the Human Rights Watch report Zimbabwe 2016 it can be said that the chances of persecution of Vinnie in his home country is very high. In the country guidance of the year 2011, it has been stated that there is less politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe as compared to the situation in RN. This was specially related to the fact wherein a person who returned from the United Kingdom having no proper MDC profile would face the real risk of demonstrating loyalty to ZANU PF. However, on the contrary if the person is linked with any kind of MDC activities and if he returns to Zimbabwe, then he would face real risk of persecution from the ZANU PF. The asylum seekers may have to show adverse attention to the ZANU PF. Likewise, if we take into consideration the Human Rights Watch Report of 2016, then also it may be held that Vinnie has high chances of facing persecution. The reason behind this is that people who have criticized Mugabe or his government in any way, including the defenders of human rights have been harassed and threatened arbitrarily. There has been very little scope for justice of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Amnesty International Annual 2016 also published a report wherein the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, threatened a private owned media if the reported about the factional strife within the ZANU PF. Thus, based on the evidences above it may said that there are higher chances of Vinnie to face persecution

In the case of EM and others (Returnees) Zimbabwe CG [2011], the Court held that it is now safe for asylum seekers to return to Zimbabwe as the country has now become safe to return. In the given case, an application was launched with the Court of Appeal. The appeal was allowed in relation to Zimbabweans staying in the United Kingdom whose previous application was disapproved can now return to Zimbabwe peacefully. The Court of Appeal has assured about approval of claim of the issue however, the chance of persecution remains high. This can be regarded as a weakness for Vinnie for applying asylum. It can therefore be held that in the case of Vinnie there are higher chances for his application being approved for asylum in the United Kingdom.

Nevertheless, it has been noted that people who stay at Britain and have gone there in fear of persecution had to return, as there is a loophole in the current asylum policy system. As per the Home Office, people have been sent back to Malawi first and from there they have gone to Zimbabwe as the opponents of Robert Mugabe regime have acquired Malawian passports as to way to make their exit from Zimbabwe easier. Some people are so desperate that they obtain documents fraudulently so that they may escape from Zimbabwe. Based on the analysis above and after assessing the case of Vinnie, it may be held that there is a likelihood that his application for asylum may be approved by the Immigration Department of the United Kingdom.

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