UNHCR on deportations of Iraqis from Europe
As another round of EU-coordinated Iraqi refugee collective expulsions gets underway, the United Nations Refugee Agency has called for European governments to provide protection for Iraqi refugees.
From the UNHCR press statement:
UNHCR is very concerned by on-going forced returns of Iraqi citizens from Western European countries. On September 1st, a chartered flight with 61 people on board, mainly Iraqis who had been residing in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the United Kingdom, landed at Baghdad airport. UNHCR has so far not been able to confirm reports that three Iranians were among those on board.
UNHCR considers that serious risks, including indiscriminate threats to life, physical integrity or freedom resulting from violence or events seriously disturbing public order, are valid reasons for international protection.
We strongly urge European governments to provide Iraqis with protection until the situation in their areas of origin in Iraq allows for safe and voluntary returns. In this critical time of transition, we also encourage all efforts to develop conditions in Iraq that are conducive to sustainable and voluntary return.
The on-going violence in Iraq has resulted in large scale internal and external displacement of the Iraqi population. Over 1.5 million people remain displaced within the country while hundreds of thousands of people have found refuge in neighbouring countries, mainly in Syria and Jordan. We are concerned about the signal that forced returns from Western Europe could give to Iraq’s neighbouring countries, which, despite a score of national priorities, are hosting large numbers of Iraqi refugees.