Called by COALITION TO STOP DEPORTATIONS TO IRAQ and INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF IRAQI REFUGEES
Show your opposition to Blair and Reid’s policy of deporting vulnerable people to dangerous countries! Support the efforts to stop forced removals to Iraq!
The Home Office has detained many Iraqi Kurds, perhaps 60, and some have been told they will be removed on 5 September. We believe there are also some Arab Iraqis in detention. All over Britain Iraqis are living in fear of a dawn raid on their home, or of arrest at their place of work or when they go to report at the Home Office signing centre. They fear losing even the precarious position they have found in British society.
The dangers of central and southern Iraq are well-known. Less well-known are the conditions in Northern Iraq / South Kurdistan. But news from there shows that, contrary to what Tony Blair and his Home Office would have us believe, Northern Iraq too is not free, safe or democratic. See our website for more details: http://www.csdiraq.com
Wave of protests in Kurdistan
There has recently been a wave of protests in South Kurdistan. This is because people are fed up with seeing rampant official corruption and incompetence and the luxurious lifestyles of the party leaders and their hangers-on, which contrasts with run-away inflation, high unemployment rates, petrol shortages, water shortages, power cuts, a losing battle to make ends meet for ordinary people, and persecution if you overstep the narrow bounds of acceptable criticism. But the security forces regularly shoot at protesters and arrest large numbers of people – hardly evidence of a safe place for people to be returned to. We are also hearing that hundreds of people a month are leaving Kurdistan to go into exile, because the conditions there are so bad and people have lost all hope for the future.
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.”
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. Plus the general security situation is not good.
Once again, 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 recent proposals made by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in their document “Recognising Rights, Recognising Political Realities” published on 13 July.
And we call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to:
• make their own position clear both to the Home Office and to the Kurdish people;
• publicly declare that they will not accept people who are forcibly removed from Britain;
• demand that the Home Office stop coercing people to sign voluntary return papers.
For more information or to join the campaign contact Sarah Parker on 0207– 809 - 0633 or 0793-211-6615, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Dashty Jamal, Secretary, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees 0785 603 2991or email@example.com. See also our website http://www.csdiraq.com . Find out what your MP thinks, write and ask for his/her views, invite them to support the campaign.