British government sends Iraqi refugees to their deaths


From British daily The Guardian:

Iraqi sewed up mouth in failed bid to avoid deportation

* Alan Travis, home affairs editor

* Tuesday 16 December 2008

A Kurdish asylum seeker who sewed up his mouth in an attempt to avoid being returned to Iraq last week had the stitches forcibly removed and was still put on the plane the next day, it emerged yesterday.

He was among 49 rejected asylum seekers who were put on a special charter flight to northern Iraq last Wednesday, which took off six hours late from Stansted and was forced to return to Britain after being refused permission to land in Iraq.

The flight’s take-off was delayed because two asylum seekers had to be removed from the cabin. One had smuggled a blade on board and slashed his stomach, while a second concussed himself by banging his head against the window.

A witness on the plane said many of the 76 Group 4 Securicor guards who accompanied the deportees were shocked by what happened. Some deportees were in handcuffs and others in leg irons.

They had been taken to Stansted airport from Dover and Colnbrook immigration detention centres in preparation for the midday flight in an old French charter plane. After leaving six hours late, it stopped at Bucharest for refuelling before going on to Irbil in northern Iraq. It arrived at 3am in clear and calm conditions, but made several passes before returning to Turkey because of “bad weather”. The plane and its passengers arrived back at Stansted 31 hours after leaving the UK.

Hassan Muhammad Kochar, one of the deportees, said: “We were taken to Irbil, the plane was circling in the air. After three circles the plane turned round and landed in Turkey. We waited there for an hour and a half. The guards said they’d take us to Kurdistan, but they didn’t. Then we went to Romania. They told us they’d send us back, but they didn’t. They said it was because of the weather, but that doesn’t make sense.”

Michael Woolley, of the Visitors Group at Haslar immigration detention centre, Portsmouth, said one reason for the protests was the widely held belief that three men who had recently been returned to northern Iraq had all died. He also said that one deportee had been in England since 1999 and had an English partner and three children.

A UK Border Agency spokesman refused to comment on the flight but said that returns to northern Iraq were enforced when officials were satisfied that it was safe to do so.

The fresh details about the attempt to fly the Kurds home came as the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said rejected asylum seekers who were unable to return home should be allowed to work and have access to healthcare.

“The policy of making asylum seekers destitute is mean and nasty and has not worked,” said Duncan Smith in a report by the Centre for Social Justice. The report estimates that at least 26,000 failed asylum seekers in the UK are surviving on Red Cross food parcels.

Oppression in Kurdish Iraq: here.

Kenyan asylum seeker in Britain: ‘I fear for my life if I am deported’: here.

New Labour’s asylum policies are cruel and unjust: here.

Australia: Nurse slams conditions at Nauru ‘concentration camp’: here.

6 thoughts on “British government sends Iraqi refugees to their deaths

  1. FED-KOM FEDERATIE KOERDEN IN NEDERLAND
    Sloterkade 10 1058 HD Amsterdam Tel: 020-6141816 Fax: 020- 6143468
    E-mail: fedkom@dds.nl Girorekening: 4374756 t.n.v Fed Kom Amsterdam

    To: the right honourable Gordon Brown
    Prime Minister
    No 10 Downing Street
    London SW1A 2AA

    Amsterdam 23 December 2008

    Dear Sir,

    We, as Kurdish Federation in the Netherlands, would like to attract your attention to the following situation, which has come to our notice. Earlier this week the British police raided the offices and homes of the executive members of our sister federation in Great Britain. This operation was carried out under de anti-terrorism laws. To our dismay our British colleagues were taken in for questioning and the police searched their homes, in one case for 15 hours. The work the different federations carry out all over Europe is aimed at representing the Kurdish community and helping to solve the problems the Kurdish community might run into. It is also our job to help make a contribution to solving the Kurdish question. The road we have chosen for this work is the road of dialogue and understanding. To be effective in this field we need the co-operation of the European governments.

    Instead of co-operation and support our executive members are encountering repression, mistrust and an unwillingness to show understanding for the situation of the Kurdish people. This is not the right way to help resolve the current Kurdish situation. The police raids are a violation of the universal human rights and are an attack on the freedom of organisation en self expression. The feeling among the Kurdish people in Europe is that de European governments, including the British government, are carrying out the policies of the Turkish state, which is extremely hostile towards the Kurds. Everyday Kurdish villages are bombed and attacked by Turkish and Iranian forces, and the European governments remain silent. Instead of condemning these practices, governments, including the British government, carry out their own attacks on the Kurdish people. The three people who were picked up during the raids have been released, probably because there was not a shred of evidence against them. This makes the action by the British police even more unacceptable because it is an attack on all people who are working for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. In our view the anti-terrorism laws are being misused to criminalize the Kurdish community, and undermine the legal activities of our colleagues in Great Britain.

    We would like to ask you to investigate this matter and to take action to prevent similar miscarriages of justice in the future. It is in the interest of the Kurdish people and the British government that the Kurdish question is resolved as soon as possible. To do this pressure must be brought to bare on de Turkish government, and the harassment of Kurdish politicians must be stopped.
    We hope and trust that you will carry out a thorough investigation and that the police will be made to apologise for this unjustified action, which has no place in a democratic society. We hope to receive a reply from you on this matter in the near future, and that similar occurrences as happened this week will never happen again.

    Yours sincerely,

    A E J Bakkenes (secretary and executive member)

    On behalf of the Federation of Kurds in the Netherlands (Fed Kom)

    Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

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  2. DTP veroordeelt polygamie in Zuid- Koerdistan

    ISTANBUL – De vrouwelijke parlementariërs van de DTP hebben verklaard een positie in te nemen tegen de wet die door het KRG is aangenomen waardoor polygamie toegestaan wordt. De volksvertegenwoordigers in Zuid-Koerdistan beweren dat de nieuwe wet het leven voor vrouwen makkelijker maakt.

    Sebahat Tuncel, volksvertegenwoordiger namens de DTP heeft in een gesprek met Bianet haar standpunten over de nieuwe wet die polygamie mogelijk maakt binnen de regio van de KRG, uitgelegd. “We vertelden de woordvoerder van het parlement, het Ministerie van Cultuur en het Ministerie van Binnenlandse zaken toen wij in noord- Irak waren, dat wij de wet die polygamie toestaat, beschouwen als een daad van geweld tegen vrouwen”.

    De parlementariërs beweerden in hun reactie dat er een misverstand was. “Ze zeiden, ‘We beperken de wet op polygamie uit de tijd van Saddam. We maken polygamie moeilijker.’ Deze wet bijvoorbeeld eist de toestemming van de eerste vrouw voor de tweede huwelijk van de man. Indien de eerste vrouw haar taken als echtgenote niet kan uitvoeren en dit bewezen kan worden, dan alleen is een tweede huwelijk toegestaan.”

    Sebahat Tuncel bekritiseerde het parlement als volgt: “Ook al is het waar dat deze nieuwe regeling het leven van vrouwen makkelijker maakt, het blijft polygamie toestaan. Vanwege de invloeden van religieuze normen, kunnen zij niet de volledige wet aanpassen, maar zelfs deze verandering blijft er een vanuit het perspectief van de man. De wet werd aangenomen zonder de opinie van de vrouwen te overwegen en met een zeer kleine meerderheid.”

    Toen de voorzitter van het Turkse parlement Köksal Toptan de vrouwelijke parlementariërs van de DTP zei meer aandacht te moeten hebben voor het Turkse parlement in plaats van die in noord-Irak. Hierop reageerde Tuncel door te zeggen dat een probleem voor vrouwen de politieke partijen en landen oversteeg. Ze voegde er aan toe dat de DTP ook in het Turkse parlement voorstellen heeft ingediend aangaande de gelijkheid van mannen en vrouwen en een voorstel voor een quota die moet garanderen dat 40% van de politieke partijen moet bestaan uit vrouwen.

    “We ondernemen actie voor de vrouw die verkracht wordt in Istanbul en voor de vrouw die gestenigd wordt voor overspel in Iran. Dit is echter niet genoeg. Dit is niet enkel een vrouwen probleem, de bron voor deze politiek is de mentaliteit van mannen. Zij zouden eerst eens naar zichzelf moeten kijken,” aldus Sebahat Tuncel.

    From: Bianet.org, Koerdische-Jongeren.com 17-12-2008

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  3. Campaigner to be forcibly deported to Iraq on Monday
    Submitted on 4 January, 2009 – 13:27

    * Anti-deportation campaigns
    * Iraq

    Anti-deportation campaigns

    Abbas Ali Babakir, a human rights campaigner in the UK, is to be deported at 16.15 on Monday from Heathrow on Royal Jordanian airlines.

    He is currently being held at Campsfield detention centre.

    He arrived in the UK in 2001 following threats to his life from the PUK and believes his life will be in danger if he returns to Iraq. His family was responsible for guarding an oil refinery for the British Government. This led to strife between the family and the PUK and KDP (the two parties making up the Kurdish Regional Government). The PUK have persecuted Abbas’ family since 1993.

    Immediately prior to Abbas taking the decision to leave Iraq two of his relatives were arrested and murdered by the PUK. If he had remained in Iraq he feels sure he would have met the same fate. The PUK are still the ruling party in charge of his village (Gardaspean) and he fears if he returns he will be arrested or killed. Abbas was forced to leave his wife and five children, behind in Iraq: if there was any possibility of a safe return to Iraq Mr Babakir would have returned to Iraq many years ago. Recent deportees have been targeted with car bombs and kidnapping as their previous persecutors remin at large and in mnay cases now in positions of official power. A 24 year old who was deported in November hung himself to escape the persecution he was facing since he was sent back.

    Abbas has been an active campaigner in the UK , working against forcible deportations to Iraq and the policies of the PUK and the KDP, and for the rights of asylum seekers in the UK . He was scheduled to be deported last month but this was cancelled after public pressure on the Home Office. He is trying to find a solicitor to take his case after he was dropped by his previous one when he was detained. However, due to being in detention and not having enough money to pay the fees he has so far been unsuccessful.

    Please:

    – send urgent faxes/emails immediately to Rt. Hon Jacqui Smith, MP, Secretary of State for the Home Office, and asking that Abbas’ planned deportation be cancelled. Please use the ‘model letter’ below or write your own version. If you do so, please remember to include his HO ref: S1113909/2.

    Fax: 020 8760 3132

    Email: indpublicenquiries@ind. homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
    and enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov. uk

    – send faxes and/or letters to Suhair Beidas, London Office Supervisor, Royal Jordanian Airways and urge them not to carry out the forced removal – you can download a model letter (YousufRJA.doc) which you can copy/amend /write your own version (if you do so please quote Royal Jordanian Flight RJ112 at 16:15 on Monday 5th January)

    Fax: 020 8760 3132 from outside the UK 00 44 020 8760 3132

    For more information please contact:Richard Whittell 07824996724, Karen Johnson 078 0489 1082 or Samera Ahmad 078 2842 4164 or e mail nodeportationstoiraq@yahoo.co.uk

    Model Letters

    Rt Hon Jacqui Smith

    Home Secretary

    The Home Office

    2 Marsham St

    London

    SW1P 4DF

    Date: 10-11-2008

    Dear Ms Smith,

    RE: Mr Abbas Ali Babakir, S1113909/2 DOB 01/01/1951

    Dear Ms Smith,

    Abbas Ali Babakir, HO Ref: S1113909/2, from Iraq and resident of Hounslow is detained in Campsfield House IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Monday 5th January on Royal Jordanian flight RJ112 from Heathrow @ 16:15, flying to Jordan, and then on to Erbil, Kurdistan.

    I have made myself familiar with the case of Abbas Ali Babakir and would like you to use your discretion to prevent the removal of Abbas from the UK.

    Mr. Babakir arrived in the UK in 2001 following threats to his life from the PUK Mr. Babakir believes his life will be in danger if he returns to Iraq. Mr. Babakir’s family (Merawdalie clan) was responsible for guarding an oil refinery for the British Government this led to strife between the family and the PUK and KDP (the two parties making up the Kurdish Regional Government). The PUK have persecuted Mr. Babakir’s family since 1993, when they confiscated his family’s land.

    Immediately prior to Mr. Babakir taking the decision to leave Iraq two of his relatives were arrested and murdered by the PUK if Mr. Babakir had remained in Iraq he feels sure he would have met the same fate. The PUK are still the ruling party in charge of Mr. Babakir’s village (Gardaspean) and he fears if he returns he will be arrested or killed. Mr Babakir was forced to leave his wife and five children behind in Iraq, one of his daughters is disabled. If there was any possibility of a safe return to Iraq Mr Babakir would have returned to Iraq many years ago.

    Mr Babakir is a well known campaigner for the International Federation of Iraqi refugees in the UK and has been outspoken in his condemnation of the PUK and KDP, the ruling parties in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq. I refer you to the case of Kadir Salah (also a campaigner for the Iraqi refugees in the UK), who returned voluntarily to Iraq in 2005 and was kidnapped shortly after his return by the PUK.

    For all of the above reasons I fear Mr Babakir’s life will be in danger if he is returned to Northern Iraq. I request that you review Mr Babakir’s case, release him from detention immediately and grant him indefinite leave to remain on compassionate grounds.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Name:

    Address: City: Postcode:

    Country: Email address: Date:

    Suhair Beidas

    Supervisor, London Office

    Royal Jordanian Airlines

    1 Beadon Road

    London W6 0EA

    Fax: 020 8748 5251

    Dear Sir,

    Abbas Ali Babakir is due to be forcibly removed to Iraq on Royal Jordanian Airlines Flight RJ112 at 16:15 on Monday 5th January

    I am writing to you about Abbas Ali Babakir who is being held in Campsfield Detention Centre, awaiting removal to Iraq on Monday 5th January.

    He arrived in the UK in 2001 following threats to his life from the PUK and believes his life will be in danger if he returns to Iraq. His family was responsible for guarding an oil refinery for the British Government. This led to strife between the family and the PUK and KDP (the two parties making up the Kurdish Regional Government). The PUK have persecuted Abbas’ family since 1993.

    Immediately prior to Abbas taking the decision to leave Iraq two of his relatives were arrested and murdered by the PUK. If he had remained in Iraq he feels sure he would have met the same fate. The PUK are still the ruling party in charge of his village (Gardaspean) and he fears if he returns he will be arrested or killed. Abbas was forced to leave his wife and five children, behind in Iraq: if there was any possibility of a safe return to Iraq Mr Babakir would have returned to Iraq many years ago.

    Abbas has been an active campaigner in the UK , working against forcible deportations to Iraq and for the rights of asylum seekers on the UK . He was scheduled to be deported last month but this was cancelled after public pressure on the Home Office and support from MPs. However he has been unable to obtain another solicitor after being dropped by his previous one for being unable to pay the fees.

    If this man is forced onto a plane against his will, it is certain that he will become deeply and obviously distressed and this will clearly affect the comfort and safety of other passengers. It is likely that this will damage the reputation of Royal Jordanian in the eyes of current and potential passengers.

    In the light of the Home Office’s recent statement that “Airline captains have the right to refuse carriage of a passenger and will do so if they feel appropriate for security or commercial reasons”, I urge Royal Jordanian not to carry out this forced removal.

    Yours sincerely,

    Name:

    Address:

    City: Postcode:

    Country:

    Phone: Email:

    International Federation of Iraqi Refugees-IFIR

    CSDIRAQ

    POBOX1575,ILFORD IG1 3BZ ,LONDON,UK Tel:0044 7856032991 ,

    http://www.csdiraq.com

    http://www.federationifir.com

    Like

  4. Pingback: Refugees from Iraq, Afghan wars in Germany | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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