The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees has issued the following appeal.
The UK government is currently arresting and detaining Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers. The UK Government has forcibly deported 89 Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers on four different occasions over the last three years. The first three forcible deportations were carried out by military aircraft from Brize Norton, a military airbase near Oxford. The last deportation was by a so-called humanitarian plane from London on 5 September 2007. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees fears more deportations are planned back to Iraqi Kurdistan, given the increasing numbers of Iraqi Kurds being arrested and held in detention centers all over the UK.
The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees believes that the deportations could not be happening at a worse time with the recent cholera outbreak affecting Sulaimaniya, Arbil and Kirkuk, in which more than 2000 people have been infected so far. The International Federation of Refugees continues to contest the idea that Northern Kurdistan is a safe place to return Iraqi asylum seekers.
The situation in Kurdistan may be relatively stable compared to other parts of Iraq, but Iraqi Kurdistan is not an independent state and continues to be subject to the outcomes of the policies of the US and occupying forces whilst the Iraq war continues. The two ruling parties in Kurdistan, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) are authoritarian and undemocratic. Many people are unemployed in Kurdistan and public services are very poor. The Kurdish authorities continue to persecute human rights campaigners and journalists. Terrorist groups and Islamic parties are intimidating Kurdish people on a daily basis.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and US State Departments reports all indicate violations of human rights in Iraqi Kurdistan. The KDP and PUK are not able to protect Kurdish people and provide public services and utilities. All of the factors above lead to the continuing flow of refugees leaving Iraqi Kurdistan.
The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees asks all human rights and refugee rights organizations and trade union branches to send letters to the Home Office condemning the UK’s Government’s continuing policy of deporting Iraqi refugees back to Kurdistan. Please send a copy of all letters sent to International Federation of Iraqi Refugees.
• Home office fax: 02070354745