UN cautions Dutch against repatriating Iraqi refugees

21st October 2010, Comments 0 comments


The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has asked the Netherlands and other European countries not to send Iraqi refugees back to their country.

Speaking in The Hague on Wednesday, UN Representative Daniel Endres said that the situation in Iraq's five central provinces was too unpredictable and too risky.

"There are about 1000 security incidents a month, that is more than 30 a day. And that means rockets, bombs, mainly in the centre of the country. Every Iraqi is, one way or another, affected by these incidents because they happen almost everywhere."

Too unstable The UNHCR representative said that at this stage he could not vouch for anybody who returned to Iraq to be safe. The Netherlands repatriated about 100 refugees to Iraq this year. "We have asked the Dutch government to change its policy, because UNHCR guidelines state that the situation is too unstable in Iraq's five central governorates. We have asked all governments not to deport Iraqis in general, and especially not to these areas. It is a situation which could lead to great suffering by individuals."

Dutch Immigration Minister Gerd Leers told public broadcaster NOS that extradition will continue for the present moment, but if Dutch diplomats confirm what the UNHCR says, the extradition policy will be reviewed.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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