Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2017, 11:39 GMT

UNHCR Position on Return of Unsuccessful Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Author Department of International Protection (DIP); Africa Bureau
Publication Date 2 May 2002
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR Position on Return of Unsuccessful Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers, 2 May 2002, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]

According to most independent observers, the presidential elections of March 2002 were held in a climate of violence and intimidation, including arrests and extra judicial killings of members of political parties opposed to the government and the ruling party. Consequently, the elections have been strongly criticized by many States and resulted in the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. A month after the elections, there has been no detectable abatement of political violence against the opposition, particularly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), despite pressure from the international community to launch a rapprochement. Members and supporters real or perceived of the MDC or any other opposition party/ movement reportedly continue to be the target of human rights violations, including ill treatment, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention. The same applies to other persons who, because of their background, might otherwise be considered to be critical of the current regime. There have also been credible reports of further population displacement, especially in Matabeleland, the stronghold of the opposition MDC, due to continuing political violence.

In light of the above, UNHCR is of the opinion that the situation on the ground has not substantially changed. Therefore, the Office reiterates its opinion that it remains premature to reconsider the policy of removal of rejected asylum seekers to Zimbabwe under the current circumstances.

DIP, Africa Bureau
2 May 2002

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