Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Refugees/emigrants from Zimbabwe

Another excerpt from Strategypage about how people are fleeing Zimbabwe...

Many Zimbabweans are leaving the country, but just how many is another number that is very difficult to pin down. . The UNHCR estimates that three million Zimbabweans have left Zimbabwe since 2000, with the vast majority going to Botswana and South Africa....

The "few hundred" may be a conservative estimate. In July 2007, it was believed that the figure could be as high as 3000 a day. If two hundred Zimbabweans illegally enter South Africa every day that is 700,000 a year, so maybe the anecdotal "a few hundred" a day is a reasonable average. The Reception and Support Center of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that from January to the end of July 2007 it repatriated 117,737 Zimbabweans from South Africa to Zimbabwe. "Repatriated" means the refugees have been sent back to Zimbabwe. ..

At the moment Zimbabwe's immediate neighbors classify the Zimbabwean refugees as "economic migrants." This means they do not have the same international status as a "political refugee." If a refugee is classified as a political refugee subject to prosecution (or persecution) if he returns to the country from which he fled, then that individual can usually appeal for asylum (in the country to which he fled or in an another country willing to accept him). Not so if the refugee is declared an "economic migrant." It is often tough to determine who is an economic migrant and who is a political refugee.

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