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Doubts raised on Iraq deportations
Rights groups criticise UK's plans to send back third batch of asylum seekers.
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2010 12:09 GMT
UK is expected to deport a number of Iraqi asylum seekers to Iraq on Wednesday [EPA]

Britain is arranging its third enforced removal of Iraqi asylum applicants to Baghdad, according to the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR).

A dozen of Iraqi applicants were sent to Iraq last week from the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The arrest of some of those deportees has raised doubts about their safety.

The government of UK has not responded to UNHCR appeals to stop deporting Iraqis, as their country is not entirely safe yet in addition to its poor human-rights profile, the UNHCR said.

Peter Kessler, UNHCR senior external affairs officer, told Al Jazeera: "We did write to them (UK government) but so far no response back.

"Indeed, violence so far over 2010 exceeds levels during 2009."

UNHCR has urged the UK to allow Iraqi asylum applicants from certain volatile parts from Iraq, to continue to benefit from international protection in the form of refugee status under the 1951 convention.

"Our position and advice to governments is that Iraqi asylum applicants originating from Iraq's governorates of Baghdad, Diyala, Ninawa and Salah-al-Din, as well as from parts of Tameen province where Kirkuk is located, should continue to benefit from international protection in the form of refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention or another form of protection depending on the circumstances of the case," UNHCR said on Sunday.

Kessler told Al Jazeera: "We have not received details on those being detained who are slated for enforced removal, but presume that they are not recognised by the UK as refugees."

Rights organisations still consider Iraq is a volatile country marred by insurgency, crime and human-rights abuse.

Asylum seekers' accounts

Al Jazeera spoke to Ziad al-Dulaimi, an asylum seeker in Britain who said he lives in constant fear of going back to Iraq.

He said that British officials told them that al-Maliki's government had asked the UK to send asylum applicants back because the country needs them.

"The batch that was deported last week had difficult times, I know two of them. They called me and said they refused to leave the plane and security forces climbed on board and beat them," al-Dulaimi said.

"How can we go back to humiliation? On the other side, what are we costing the British government? Nothing. When I came to the UK five years ago, I was detained in Dover. They would not release me until I signed a paper saying I would never ask any financial help from the British government. Why can't they be patient until things are really better in Iraq?"  

Another Iraqi asylum seeker in a Western Europe country, who spoke to Al Jazeera but refused to reveal her identity, said: "We do not know on what basis they consider Iraq is back to normal, and that the conditions pushed us to leave have over.

"Our country is still in chaos, people are still not completely safe. For me, I left because of sectarian killings.

"Whe news we are getting from our neighbourhood does not encourage me to go back home. Otherwise, I would have left home without waiting for somebody to tell me to do so."

Source:
Al Jazeera
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