HC Deb 17 June 1997 vol 296 c97W
Mr. Vaz

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review procedures related to asylum seekers from Sierra Leone and its neighbouring states. [3060]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

Following the coup in Sierra Leone on 25 May, my Department has suspended the consideration of asylum applications from Sierra Leone nationals. A review of the handling of these cases is being conducted in close cooperation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but no decisions will be made on these asylum applications until the situation in Sierra Leone stabilises. The independent appellate authorities have been asked to suspend all appeal hearings relating to Sierra Leone nationals, and compulsory returns of refused asylum seekers have also been suspended. No one will be returned to Sierra Leone until we are satisfied it is safe to do so