R t Hon Amber Rudd MP Home Office 2 Marsham Street London
SW1P 4DF Amber Rudd Date:13/04/2017
The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) called a demonstration outside the Home Office on Thursday 13th April to protest at the arrest of more than 30 Iraqi and Kurdish asylum seekers. We were joined by the families and children of the asylum seekers and others in the Iraqi community, as well as MEPs, trade unionists and human rights organizations.
Some of the Iraqi asylum seekers in Colnbrook Detention Centre who were detained as part of this raid have informed IFIR that they were interviewed by Iraqi officials. Following these interviews they were then cleared for deportation.
The UK Government is clearly undertaking this deportation with the agreement of the Iraqi Government, and is using the support of the Iraqi government and its officials to legitimize and authorize the process. It is unacceptable that the UK Government has such an agreement with the Iraqi Government.
We call on you to respect the rights of Iraqi refugees, and not to play with the lives of refugees at a time when Iraq is still plagued by war and violence. The UK must not put the lives of these people at risk.
The tragedy of refugees on the borders of Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea is a direct consequence of closing borders to people whose livelihoods and homes have been shattered by civil war, unrest and insecurity. The disaster facing refugees places a tremendous responsibility upon European governments. While the UK and other European governments talk about human rights, they have provided no realistic solution to the causes of the current wave of displacement and forced mass migration.
European countries are ignoring the fact that they are one of the main reasons for the catastrophes leading to the exodus from the Middle East, of which these 30 Iraqis are one small part. The majority of the refugees from Iraq are the direct victims of the political and military involvement of the US and European countries, and their support for repressive regimes and political forces in the Middle East which are so often wrapped up in the garb of democracy. States run by these forces are taking no responsibility for the livelihoods of Iraqi citizens, and in reality have turned Iraqi society into a spiral of conflict between different religious, nationalist and Islamic groups such as ISIS. Iraq is politically and economically insecure and unsafe, and, thanks to the behavior of those in power, its citizens have no chance of a decent life.
IFIR is an organization dedicated to defending human rights, and we see ourselves as a part of a progressive and international movement; we fight for the rights of Iraqi refugees across the world, and work to gain solidarity from human rights organisations worldwide. As a part of that responsibility, we are sending you this letter, asking you to treat refugees in a responsible manner, and not to act in a way that ignores grave humanitarian concerns. We strongly condemn this forced deportation by the UK Government at a time when Iraq is in a state of war and the Iraqi people are still paying the price for the actions of the British and American governments.
We call on the British government to:
- Immediately halt these deportations
- End the deportation agreement with Iraqi government
- Immediately release all Iraqi refugees in detention
- Give all Iraqis in the UK refugees status
Secretary of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR)