Dutch call off Iraq deportations
The European Court of Human Rights has blocked the planned deportation from the Netherlands of a group of failed Iraqi asylum seekers, due to take place today. The ECHR ruled that forced deportations to Iraq are banned until 24 November. Dutch Justice Minister Gerd Leers has decided to abide by the ruling.
As a result about 15 failed asylum seekers will be not be leaving for Iraq on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Mr Leers was still insisting they would be deported, saying that even though the situation in Iraq did give cause for concern there was no proof the security situation had deteriorated over the past six months.
Wonders Parliament on Tuesday afternoon only narrowly rejected a proposal by Christian Union MP Joël Voordewind to suspend the deportations until after the ECHR handed down its ruling. Mr Voordewind says he is relieved the deportations have now been cancelled: “Wonders will never cease”. He points out that as recently as Tuesday, 100 people were killed in a series of attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
Since the end of 2008 asylum seekers from Iraq have not been automatically granted refugees status here in the Netherlands, with applications for residence here now assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, some vulnerable groups, such as Christians, Palestinians and Jews, have a greater chance of being granted asylum. Members of these groups are exempt from the need to prove they have fallen victim to human rights violations. Intellectuals, journalists and other people in dangerous professions also fall in this category.
'Legitimate targets' An al-Qaeda group in Iraq has announced that Christians are again legitimate targets. The Islamic State in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the hostage taking of worshippers at a church in Baghdad. Their liberation on Sunday ended in the deaths of 53 people.
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