Britain won’t bend rules for Evan Mawarire and Patson Dzamara

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Britain says it cannot bend the rules to accommodate Zimbabwean activists who were denied visas last month insisting that applications were considered on their merits, regardless of the applicant’s nationality.

The government was taken to task for refusing Evan Mawarire and Patson Dzamara temporary visas to allow them to address British parliamentarians on human rights violations in Zimbabwe. The issue was first raised on Wednesday by Lord Purvis of Tweed who wanted to know whether the Minister was aware that the United Kingdom government had denied temporary visas to Evan Mawarire and Patson Dzamara who were due to inform the British parliament about the “egregious human rights and constitutional abuses by the ZANU­PF administration”.

evan-mawarire-and-patson-dzamara Baroness Goldie responded that she could not comment on individual visa applications. “These matters are considered by UK Visas and Immigration, which is required to apply a consistent approach. All visa applications are considered on their merits against immigration rules for visitors,” she said. The question was raised again two days later this time by Lord Oates. The reply came from Baroness Williams of Trafford who said: “All applications for a visa to travel to the UK, regardless of the applicant’s nationality, are considered on their merits, in accordance with the Immigration Rules, taking into account the information and supporting documents provided in the application

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Lord Purvis of Tweed­ In light of the violence and intimidation in the recent Norton by­election in Zimbabwe, is the Minister aware of the concern that the UK did not allow temporary visas to the human rights activists Pastor Evan Mawarire and Patson Dzamara, who were due to inform this Parliament about the egregious human rights and constitutional abuses by the ZANU­PF Administration? As President Zuma is meeting President Mugabe at this moment in Harare, is it not incumbent on the UK, and our Parliament, to offer a much more open invitation to those who wish to inform us of the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe? Baroness Goldie

­If I may take the latter point first, the United Kingdom Government have a very impressive track record of engaging not just with Zimbabwe but with South Africa on the situation in Zimbabwe. There is a record of frequent ministerial exchanges. On visa applications specifically, the noble Lord will understand that I am unable to comment on individual applications. These matters are considered by UK Visas and Immigration, which is required to apply a consistent approach. All visa applications are considered on their merits against immigration rules for visitors.

Lord Oates Liberal Democrat­ To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy regarding the issuing of temporary UK visas to Zimbabwean democracy and human rights activists in order that they can inform the UK Government and Parliament about the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department­ All applications for a visa to travel to the UK, regardless of the applicant’s nationality, are considered on their merits, in accordance with the Immigration Rules, taking into account the information and supporting documents provided in the application.

 

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