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Saturday, 4 June 2011

In UK, new campaign against forced returns to Iraq


Amidst ongoing repression of protest in the northern Iraq Kurdish Regional Government area, and United Nations fears over Iraq’s capacity to deal with mass returnees of Iraqi refugees from Syria, a campaign has been launched to oppose forcible returns of Iraqis from the UK.

The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees has issued a statement and call for action. The organisation fears that the UK government may be preparing for another mass deportation charter flight. IFIR believes that now is the time to put pressure on the authorities in Iraq to oppose these deportations.

Message from the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees

In the last two years Britain has deported 300 Iraqi refugees to Baghdad. Workers and students in Iraq have begun a campaign to oppose this policy. They are asking for international solidarity.

Many Iraqis have been arrested this week in preparation for another mass deportation to Baghdad. According to media reports and evidence collected by the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, many of those who have been deported before are now living in hiding, in fear of the persecution they originally left Iraq to flee. Some have been assassinated. Others, have committed suicide only days after being deported. Others have been kidnapped and killed, while others have had mental breakdowns. Many more have had to leave the country and become refugees again.

Recently, people in Iraq began a movement for freedom, justice, jobs and services, and against political corruption inspired by the popular uprisings across the Middle East. Peaceful demonstrations against the authorities were repressed violently. The government’s response was condemned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. But the British government continues to deport people to Iraq.

The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees is beginning a new campaign. We demand that the Iraqi government stops accepting people forcibly returned to Baghdad Airport. We also demand that the United Nations High Commission of Refugees puts pressure on European countries to respect the human rights of Iraqi refugees. We also demand that the Iraqi government compensates deportees, providing them with work or unemployment benefit and supports them to rebuild their lives in Iraq and Kurdistan.

We are therefore writing to ask you to send a letter or email from your organisation to the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, in support of these demands. Please also pass this request onto other organisations. You can write your own or use the model letter attached below. Please let us know when you have sent yours at ifir@hotmail.co.uk.

Eight years after the invasion of Iraq, the UK government continues its attack on Iraqi people through policies of detention and deportation. The injustice of deportations is now more an issue than ever in Iraq and with more pressure from Europe there is a chance the KRG and the Iraqi government can be forced to take a stand against them.

Please write to:

The Kurdistan Region Presidency
Post to: Kurdistan Region Presidency, Diwan, P.O. BOX 60, Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil-Iraq
Fax to: 00964 66 223 5505
KRG office in London
Telephone: 00442071704307
Fax to: 00442071704301
complaints@parliament.iq

Example letter

Dear President Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

RE: Deportations to Iraq

In the last 2 years Britain has deported 300 Iraqi refugees to Baghdad. Workers and students in Iraq have begun a campaign to oppose this policy. I am writing in support of their demands.

Many of those who have been deported to Iraq and Kurdistan are now living in hiding, in fear of the persecution they originally left Iraq to flee. Some have been assassinated. Others, have committed suicide only days after being deported. Others have been kidnapped and killed, while others have had mental breakdowns. Many more have had to leave the country and become refugees again.

We demand that the Iraqi government stops accepting people forcibly returned to Baghdad Airport. We also demand that the Iraqi government compensates deportees, providing them with work or unemployment benefit and supports them to rebuild their lives in Iraq and Kurdistan.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Name:
Organisation:
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