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Rights group urges European states to stop deportation of Iraq refugees

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday urged European leaders to stop the upcoming deportation of asylum seekers to Iraq [press release] because their human rights may be violated in unsafe regions of the country. Authorities in the UK, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands are taking part in a joint effort to return the refugees to Iraq after the asylum petitions of many of the refugees were denied. AI contends that the planned deportations violate the rules of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) [official website], which oppose forced returns [text, PDF] to specific areas in Iraq considered too dangerous for civilians. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) [advocacy website] also condemned the return of refugees to high-risk areas in Iraq, alleging that more than 100 Iraqi refugees in the UK will be deported this week [press release]. The deportations are scheduled for Wednesday.

Last month, an Iraqi refugee won a suit [BBC report] against the UK Home Office [official website] in which he claimed that he was threatened illegally with deportation to Iraq after being accused of committing terrorist activities. The UK High Court found that the man's arrest and detention were illegal. The UK government also announced last month that it will review [JURIST report] the country's Human Rights Act [BBC backgrounder] after two Pakistani terror suspects successfully avoided deportation due to concerns for their safety. Certain regions in Iraq remain dangerous [JURIST comment], with violence often targeted against civilians and minorities [JURIST report].

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