UNHCR cautions against Iraqi deportations
The UN refugee agency on Tuesday warned four European states against their plans to deport Iraqi refugees to Baghdad, pointing to persistent security threats across the country.
The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Britain are planning to return Iraqis to the country's capital this week, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.
"UNHCR is concerned about the signal that forced returns from Europe could give to other host countries, particularly those neighbouring Iraq," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman of the refugees agency.
"Iraqi asylum applicants originating from Iraq's governorates of Baghdad, Diyala, Ninewa and Salah-al-Din, as well as from Kirkuk province, should continue to benefit from international protection in the form of refugee status," said the spokeswoman.
"Our position reflects the volatile security situation and the still high level of prevailing violence, security incidents, and human rights violations taking place in these parts of Iraq," she added.
© 2010 AFP