On 26th November the Mayor of Stockton, Councillor Paul Baker welcomed Justice First trustees, staff and volunteers to Stockton library where ‘Unsafe Return’, the report on Congolese clients of Justice First who had been removed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was to be made public. The event was attended by over 40 people. Many had known the Justice First clients as neighbours and friends during the time they had spent in Middlesbrough and Stockton. Organisations such as Thrive, MAP (Methodist Asylum Project) and the Soroptomists were represented as well as local and regional law firms. We were greatly encouraged by the attendance of young Justice First volunteers and medical students from Durham University. Barbara Hungin, Chair of Justice First, gave a brief background to the report, which was presented by Catherine Ramos. Its recommendations were outlined by Kath Sainsbury, Project Manager.
‘Unsafe Return’ details the post return experience of nine of the ten Justice First clients removed between 2006 and 2009. The tenth has made no contact since arriving in Kinshasa in 2008. A voluntary returnee cannot be traced by the International Organisation for Migration which arranged her return. She did not pick up her reintegration package or return to the IOM office in Kinshasa in 2010. The post return experience of six other returnees from West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Hull and the Southampton area is documented, also.
Returnees report imprisonment and ill treatment after they were removed from the United Kingdom. The UK has a responsibility under nationally ratified international and human rights law not to return to persecution those who have sought sanctuary in the UK. The Home Office maintains it does not monitor those asylum seekers it removes, as it only removes those for whom it is safe. The conclusion of this report is that it is not safe to remove refused asylum seekers to the DRC. One of the recommendations of the report is that a system to monitor the post return experience be put in place.
Download the pdf file format here UNSAFE RETURN FULL REPORT