Iraqi refugees: hunger strike follows failed deportation

Submitted by Matthew on 22 October, 2009 - 10:55

Around 30 Iraqi asylum seekers whom the government tried to deport to Iraq last week are among a group of 50 hunger strikers at Brook House detention centre in West Sussex.

The UK has been deporting “failed” Iraqi asylum seekers back to Iraqi Kurdistan for several years but last week for the first time tried to deport 39 people to Baghdad. In Baghdad, the authorities said they would only let in those who wanted to be let in, and no one should be forced to go back to Iraq against their will. Most on the flight chose to return to the UK.

In a statement, the hunger strikers explain:

“We have been in detention centres for months and years and our cases have not been handled professionally.

“We are all locked up in detention, which is exactly like a prison, but most of us have never committed any crime whatsoever.

“We are going on hunger strike until they release us.

“Most of us are being falsely removed to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, which are clearly war zones.

“Most of us have families in the UK. What are we supposed to do? Leave them behind or take them with us right into the middle of a war zone to be killed?”

• Contact the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees for more details: d.jamal@ntlworld.com

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