via Letter from UK Visas and Immigration – 30/06/2014 05 July 2014 by Administrator
Thank you for your letter dated 17 May 2014, about your concerns over the Home Office’s handling of issues of Zimbabwean refugees in the UK. I am sorry you felt the need to raise a complaint. I also apologise for our failure to respond to your previous correspondence of 21 February 2014.
In your letter you raise concerns about comments regarding Zimbabwe Vigil which appeared in a decision letter served on a Zimbabwean asylum seeker.
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 Home Office’s country of origin (COI) material is compiled from a wide range of external information sources including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, human rights organisations, inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, news media and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The nehandaradio.com article dated 30 June 2009 is not referred to in our COI reports or Operational Guidance Notes on Zimbabwe.
Decision makers receive substantial training on the information and skills needed to make well-reasoned decisions supported by subjective evidence and objective information. As part of the foundation training course, decision makers are advised on types of objective evidence, reliability, scope and accuracy of sources.
We also provide our decision makers with guidance in assessing claims, which advises them that it is best to use objective country of origin information in existing Home Office COI products or make an information request to the Country Policy and Information Team.
We recognise the Zimbabwe Vigil as a UK-based pressure group representing the Zimbabwean diaspora. The allegations made in the nehandaradio.com article are unfounded and should not be considered as reliable information. Decision makers have been reminded that they should not rely on information provided in the article on nehandaradio.com dated 30 June 2009, in assessing what weight to give letters written by Zimbabwe Vigil. We have also reiterated the correct approach for considering country of origin information to prevent this happening in the future.
If you are dissatisfied with our response, you may wish to seek a review in writing within one month from the date on this letter to the following address:
UKVI Complaints Allocation Hub
Long Corridor 11th Floor
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 2BY
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