BBC News Thursday 23rd August 2007
A High Court judge has order a halt to deportations of failed asylum seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a major defeat for the Home Office, Mr Justice Collins said no one should be removed until the African country's safety record was reconsidered.
The judge said there needed to be an expert ruling on whether DR
Congo was safe for failed asylum seekers.
Campaigners say the Home Office was planning removals before an
assessment of the country's human rights record.
"We are obviously disappointed with today's outcome.
"We recognise that the conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo are such that there are individuals who are able to demonstrate a need for international protection. It is only right that we provide protection to those in genuine fear of persecution, but enforcing the return of those who have no right to remain here is a key part of upholding a robust and fair asylum system. We do not, however, consider that each and every Congolese national who applies for asylum is in need of international protection.
"However, in line with the High Court's decision, we will not enforce the removal of Congolese asylum seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo until the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has substantively considered the pending Country Guidance case.
"We will vigorously defend our position that it is safe to return Failed Asylum Seekers to the DRC at the forthcoming Country Guidance case due to recommence on 17th September. We shall seek to resume enforced returns as soon as legally possible.
"In the meantime we continue to expect Congolese who have no right to remain in the UK to leave voluntarily and encourage them to take advantage of the generous return and reintegration package that the International Organization for Migration offers to help them to do so."