News & Current Affairs

June 3, 2008

Iraq ready to accept refugees

Filed under: Latest — Tags: — expressyoureself @ 5:01 am
Years of waiting could be over for hundreds of Iraqis denied asylum in Denmark
Over 350 Iraqi refugees whose applications for asylum in Denmark have been rejected could soon be on their way back to the Middle East country.

The Iraqi government, according to Denmark’s Immigration Ministry, is currently reviewing a proposal for the asylum seekers’ return, and according to Faris Shakir Fathouhi, chargé d’ affaires at Iraqi’s embassy in Copenhagen, it could be approved soon.

‘The work is moving forward, and I think it is only a matter of time before an agreement is ready,’ Fathouli said. ‘It will happen in the near future. It’s probably just a matter of months.’

Birthe Rønn Hornbech, the immigration minister, said she hoped ‘an agreement with the Iraqis would be in house soon’.

‘We’ve presented Baghdad with a document that has been negotiated down to the smallest detail, but we don’t have a final agreement yet,’ she said.

According to Fathouli, the Danish proposal is similar to an agreement with Sweden struck earlier this year, which permits the return of one asylum seeker per day.

A total of 357 Iraqi asylum seekers whose applications for asylum have been rejected are awaiting deportation. They have refused to return of their own free will, but cannot be sent back to Iraq until Denmark has reached a bilateral agreement with the country’s government.

Fathouli said he understood that Danish authorities were pressing for an agreement, but added that the violence in central and southern Iraq had prolonged the process.

Even though the Refugee Appeals Board, an independent review body, has approved the return of asylum seekers, the Danish Refugee Council, an advocacy group, has cautioned against doing so. (KM)

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