Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Deported Iraqi refugees expected to land in Baghdad

Erbil, March 9 (AKnews) – A plane carrying 25 refugees, predominantly Kurds, deported from Britain, is expected to land at Baghdad International Airport this afternoon.

The secretary of the Iraqi refugees Federation Amanj Abdullah said that the refugees, forcibly sent back to Iraq were put on a plane in Britain this morning.

Refugee groups in Kurdistan and Iraq have strongly opposed the forced deportations of Iraqi refugees. Abdullah said that a campaign will be launched in Switzerland on March 16 and 17 to press EU countries not to deport Iraqi refugees.

"We call on the Iraqi government to annual a protocol it signed with the European countries about the deportation of the refugees" said Abdullah referring to an alleged agreement between the Iraqi government and the EU countries whereby the EU countries drop Iraq's debts owing to them and in return they send back the Iraqi refugees.

The regional and Iraqi governments reject such allegations.

Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland started in 2005 the forced deportation of Kurdish refugees back to Kurdistan via Baghdad.

Thousands of Kurdish refugees in EU countries are expected to be deported because the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan is seen by many of those countries as a safe and prosperous region.

Abdullah warned of the "danger" of the deportations and called on the regional government to mount pressure on the Iraqi government to take action.

"If this deportation continues, some 50,000 to 60,000 refugees will be sent back to Iraq which represents an army of unemployed that can create problems for the regional as well as the Iraqi government."

Over the past five years, some 5,500 Iraqi refugees, most of them Kurds, have been deported to Iraq. The Kurdistan Regional government showed reluctance to receive the deported refugees through the region's airports, but the deportations continue as Baghdad receives the refugees via Baghdad airport.

Mr Abdullah said the rights of the deportees are violated, apart from being sent back forcibly, they are usually handcuffed and accompanied by guards who sometimes "beat them up" and "insult" them.

In January, some 28 Iraqi refugees, most of them Kurds, who were deported from Britain arrived in a plane at Baghdad airport. Some of the refugees claimed they had been forced onto the plane and beaten up by the security officers who accompanied them.

Raber Y. Aziz (AKnews)

Dawan Hadi contributed to this story

Wednesday, March 9th 2011 1:06 PM