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Rhodesian And South African Citizens

Volume 933: debated on Thursday 16 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum in the United Kingdom are currently under consideration from persons who refuse to serve in the forces of the illegal régimes in Rhodesia, or in South African forces currently involved in the illegal occupation of Namibia.

On 10th June there were 10 Rhodesian and three South African cases under consideration in which unwillingness to serve in the forces of the country concerned was given as one of the reasons for wishing to come to or remain in the United Kingdom.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it would be grotesque to refuse asylum to a person whose reason for seeking it was that he did not wish to be conscripted into the forces of an illegal régime committing treason against the Crown?

Under the immigration rules there are required to be well-founded fears of being prosecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group, or political opinion. Under the rules, therefore, armed service does not in itself meet the criteria. However, my right hon. Friend considers each case on its merits and examines each application individually.

Can the hon. Lady say how the figures she has given compare with applications received from other parts of the world, particularly the Eastern bloc?

That is a totally separate matter. I suggest that the hon. Member tables a Question about it.