The decision in RN (Zimbabwe) is the latest test case decision of the AIT on Zimbabwe. It is a country guidance decision. This means that, unless there is new evidence which shows that the AIT’s assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe must be reconsidered, the AIT and the Home Office must apply this decision when deciding any asylum claims or appeals of Zimbabweans.
In RN (Zimbabwe), the AIT decided that
It is clear that someone who cannot demonstrate positive support for Zanu-PF is at risk of persecution. This risk arises throughout Zimbabwe, in both urban and rural areas.
While the violence is now not at the levels it reached over the summer 2008, the regime remains ready to repeat this if it thinks it necessary.
Zanu-PF militias have also established no go areas and road blocks to ensure that abuses go unreported and displaced people cannot return home.
Someone who has claimed asylum in the UK will find it very difficult to demonstrate support for or loyalty to Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Someone who tries to relocate to a new area where he or she is unknown, rather than returning to his or her home area, will not be able to reduce any risk he or she faces.
What does this mean for Zimbabwean asylum-seekers?
The AIT decision means that any asylum-seeker from Zimbabwe should be granted refugee status if there is a real risk that he or she would be unable to demonstrate positive support for Zanu-PF if he or she was to be returned to that country. However, if circumstances in Zimbabwe improve between now and when any decision is made on someone’s asylum claim or appeal, this may cease to be the case.