To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the Government of South Africa about the situation of 4,000 Zimbabwean refugees following the closure of the Musina refugee camp; and what help they have offered. [HL2620]
The UK Government have made no direct representations to the South African Government about the situation of Zimbabwean migrants following the closure of the Musina asylum reception centre on 2 March.
A number of international organisations are providing a range of assistance, including temporary shelter and food, protection services, health and legal referral, family reunification and other integration assistance.
The Department for International Development (DfID) is assisting vulnerable child migrants through our support (£930,000) to Save the Children (Save). Save has worked closely with government departments (Social Development, Home Office) at local and district level, and has advocated with national government to find ways of meeting the rights of vulnerable child migrants. This support will continue to November 2010.
On 3 April 2009 the Government of South Africa announced the introduction of a special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans entering South Africa. This will allow Zimbabweans to stay in South Africa for a period of six months; it will confer on them the right to schooling or education; to work; and to access basic healthcare. It is expected that this will lessen the pressures that large numbers of Zimbabwean migrants have created, such as in Musina, and will regularise economic migrants, who have previously sought to claim political asylum.