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Iraqi Kurds Protest Against Detention and Deportations today in London

one of noborders | 10.11.2007 01:03 | Iraq | Migration | London | World

The 9th of November was a day of action Iraqi Kurdish refugees groups. In London a group of about 30 Iraqi Kurds demonstrated along with supporters from London NoBorders opposite the UNHCR. There were simultaneous demonstrations of 500 protesters in the Swiss city of Berne, and in Norway and Sweden

The war in the Iraqi has lead to millions of Iraqis fleeing their homes and become displaced persons in Iraq or seeking refugee abroad. 14 percent of Iraqis are now displaced from their homes by the war. The UN estimates that over 4 million Iraqis have been displaced by the violence in their country, the vast majority of which have fled since 2003. Over 2.3 million have vacated their homes for safer areas within Iraq, 1.5 million are now living in Syria, and over 1 million refugees inhabit Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and Turkey.

The British state refuses to acknowledge the violence and instability unleashed by their support and assistance for the US led invasion and occupation. There are currently around 9000 refused Iraqi asylum seekers living destitute in the UK

Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers in Europe are living under the constant anxiety of being forcibly returned to Iraq. Britain has already deported over 100 Kurds back to Iraq and is holding a further 60 in detention awaiting removal. Germany has returned one Kurdish asylum seeker a week from August 2007 – October 2007 and increasingly other European countries have turned down Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers asking for leave to remain in Europe.

The reason the Home Office and other EU states gives for the forcible return of Kurdish asylum seekers is that Northern Iraq is a safe and stable country to return asylum seekers to. This is not true: many political campaigners, journalists and human rights campaigners have been imprisoned in Iraqi Kurdistan without trial. Akre, Qlachulan and Kani and Goma prisons are full of political campaigners and people who have voiced different views from the KDP and PUK (The two ruling parties in Kurdistan). Both the Kurdish authorities and Islamists routinely threaten campaigners from women’s rights and human rights organisations. Many of the Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers are fleeing from political persecution and threats of torture and murder by Islamists and the Kurdish authorities and for that alone should be granted refugee status. Without taking account the fact that the whole region is about to break down into civil war. See:

The Protesters today chanted – No to Detention – No to deportation - Freedom to Move Is Everybody's Right

They called on the Kurdistan Regional Government to stop cooperating with European governments to forcibly deport Kurdish and Iraqi asylum seekers.

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