Protest against forcible deportations to Iraqi Kurdistan - Thursday 16th April

Anti-deportation campaigners are staging a demonstration on Thursday outside the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government office in London to highlight its complicity in the forcible mass deportations of Iraqi-Kurdish refugees. The protest, called by the International
Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) and supported by many groups including London No Borders, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the SOAS Detainee Support Group, will coincide with an international demonstration called by IFIR outside the UN offices in Geneva. No Borders South Wales is also holding a solidarity demonstration at the UK Border Agency office in Cardiff.

Time: Thursday, 16th April, 1pm
Place: Winchester House, 259-269 Old Marylebone Road, NW1 5RA
Nearest tube: Edgware Road

Since the US-UK-led invasion over six years ago, killings, bombings, abductions, severe poverty, mass unemployment and lack of basic services have become part of everyday life in Iraq. Even in the Kurdistan region, which the Home Office claims to be 'safer' than other parts of the country, people are fleeing the region everyday for fear of death and persecution.

Iraqis remain the highest percentage of all nationalities seeking refuge in neighbouring countries as well as in Europe and northern America. According to statistics compiled by the UN refugee agency, some 338,000 new applications for refugee status were submitted in 2007 in 43 industrialised countries, a 10 percent rise compared to 2006. This represented a mere 1 percent of the estimated 4.5 million Iraqis uprooted by the war. Thousands more have resorted to begging, prostitution or selling their internal organs to avoid destitution.

Yet, European countries such as the UK, Germany and Sweden are locking up Iraqi refugees in detention centres and forcibly deporting them back to the country they had fled. Several hundreds of Iraqi-Kurdish refugees have een forcibly deported from the UK in recent months. Many of them had fled the KRG authorities, to whose mercy they are being sent back. Separated from their friends and families (many have partners and children here), they are arrested, handcuffed and put on special charter flights that carry them to northern Iraq, where they are received by KRG security forces. Many of them have since committed suicide, been kidnapped or killed in car bombs. Others have gone into hiding or changed their names to avoid persecution.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, which is trading Iraqi-Kurdish refugees for financial gains, is complicit in these tragedies and should stop 'cooperating' with European governments against its own people.

Stop forcible deportations to Iraqi Kurdistan!
Defend Iraqi and Kurdish refugees against repressive policies!