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Home Office Still Planning to Deport More People to Unsafe Iraqi Kurdistan

Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq | 16.01.2007 16:06 | Migration | Repression | Birmingham

Since Monday 8 January the Home Office has again begun arresting rejected Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers in Manchester, Birmingham and Doncaster, presumably with a view to forcibly removing them to Northern Iraq. This is in the week that UNHCR warned that Iraq cannot deal with the number of displaced persons it already has[1], that Tony Blair says Britain has to keep fighting wars, and George Bush announces that he intends to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

The Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq protests in the strongest possible terms against these arrests.

We have said before, and we repeat now, that Iraq, including Kurdistan, is dangerous, and that it is wrong to return people there. People who had problems with the KDP or PUK or Islamist groups in the past will still be at risk of the same problems if they are sent back now – the KDP and PUK are still in power, and the Islamists are still active.

The general security situation is not good[2], and conditions for ordinary people are very difficult even in Kurdistan – little electricity or oil for heating or cooking, water shortages, inflation, housing shortages, lack of decent jobs, restrictions on freedom of speech etc. Frequent protests take place against poor living conditions and the corruption and incompetence of the authorities, and the protests are often met with violence and mass arrests.

Indeed the latest UNHCR report on Iraq recognises that conditions in Kurdistan are problematic, it lists some of these problems, and says that states may therefore wish to extend humanitarian protection to people who have not been found in need of protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention[3].

CSDIraq is aware that people who were forcibly returned last year have indeed suffered various problems since their return, and some have had to leave the area again. But the Home Office seems determined to send people back and to ignore the reality of conditions there. CSDIraq recently received a reply to a letter in which we explained why people should not be sent back. In their reply the Home Office still does not accept that many people were refused unfairly, or that conditions in Northern Iraq are unsuitable for returns, and tries to offload responsibility for what happens to people who went back voluntarily onto the International Organisation for Migration, the organisation the Home Office uses to operate “voluntary returns” to Northern Iraq.

We call on the Home Office to:

· recognise that Iraq is not safe, and that people should not be returned there.

· to regularise the status of asylum seekers from Iraq to whom they have so far refused protection, by giving them leave to remain, and the right either to work or to decent levels of benefits, in line with the proposals made by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in their document “Recognising Rights, Recognising Political Realities” published on 13 July;

· explain why they apparently plan to return people to Kurdistan even given the recent statements by UNHCR both about refugee protection and Iraq’s inability to deal with the IDPs it already has.

European Council for Refugees opposes forced and mandatory returns

The European Council on Exiles and Refugees said in its March 2006 report, “ECRE believes that the current situation in Iraq is such that the mandatory or forced return of Iraqis is unacceptable, and recommends a continued ban on forced return to any part of the country, including the Kurdish Autonomous Region.”

No Deportations to Iraq!

For more information contact Sarah Parker on 0208 809 0633, email or Dashty Jamal (International Federation of Iraqi Refugees) on 0785 603 2991. Email: Federation of Iraqi Refugees- Manchester, Burhan Fatah: 07929010257. Office number: 0161 2342784.Email: Nottingham;Jasm Ghafor; : See also our website


Iraq: Aid agencies cannot cope with displacement, says UNHCR
Reuters and Alert Net 9 January

[2] see eg Islamic extremist group says it killed 3 Kurdish leaders
BY JONATHAN S. LANDAYKnight Ridder Newspapers I January 2007

[3] Iraqis Outside Iraq (18 December 2006)

Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq


Charter Flight on January 27th

17.01.2007 05:28

Seems there's gonna be a charter flight on January 27th. Any information?

one of noborders

Possible Demo 27th at Brize Norton

18.01.2007 05:17

This is advance notice that there may be a demo at Brize Norton on Saturday 27 January to protest at another deportation flight of Iraqis to northern Iraq from Brize Norton.

In the next few days more definite information is expected. Groups of Iraqis are planning a demo the day before, Friday, at another location. Saturday is the expected day of the flight.

Please alert likely groups and individuals of a possible 'no deportations to Iraq' demo on the 27th, probably around noon probably at the main gate.

For Close Campsfield Campaigners, perhaps we could consider moving on from the regular last-Saturday demo at Campsfield main gates at about 12445 or noon to join a demo at Brize Norton.

This is all very provisional!

Campaign to Close Campsfield


Monitoring forced returns to Iraq

29.01.2007 11:10

What happens to people after they get deported to northern Iraq?

According to European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) guidelines "member states should implement an effective system for monitoring forced returns." (see: ECRE guidelines,

Questions to Home Secretary John Reid's office have yielded replies explaining that the UK Government has put no such monitoring system in place for northern Iraq (or indeed for anywhere else). Nor, it seems, does it have any plans to do so. Reports about those forcibly deported have come only from the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees and phone contact between individuals in the UK and their fellow Kurds back in northern Iraq.

These reports are available from the Campaign to Stop Deportations to Iraq website. They confirm the dangers we have warned about facing those forcibly deported.



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