Yesterday’s charter flight from Heathrow to the Kurdish Regional Government area (KRG) of Northern Iraq did not take off. Initial reports suggest that several coaches took around 70 detainees to the airport, but ended up returning them all to UK Immigration Removal Centres. There are rumours that the KRG authorities have refused to agree the deportations with UK Border Agency, with echoes last year’s debacle when a deportation charter flight was turned back after landing in Baghdad.
Dashty Jamal of International Federation of Iraqi Refugees said today that a large demonstration was held at Sulaimaniyah International Airport to protest the forced return of refugees from Europe. An IFIR press release before the protest said:
‘It is a shame that even following the recent corrupt election held on the 7 March, that the UK Government still insists on trying to convince the British people that Iraq is safe, and that the war has brought democracy and security. All the parties that stood in the 7 March election representing tribal, militia and nationalist parties do not have in their agenda any democracy or human rights. In the meantime, Iraq continues to descend into sectarian violence and a cycle of killing. We are asking people to protest against these policies’