During the next few days, meetings are taking place among Kurdish refugee groups in Sweden and Switzerland as well as the UK, to try to halt forced repatriations to Northern Iraq.

At yesterday’s demonstration at Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre (IRC), outside Oxford, protestors were able to contact a number of the detainees who took part in the recent hunger strike that raised so much public concern over this issue. THIS IS A STATEMENT they managed to text to us while we were outside:

“WE DON’T WANT to go back to Iraq because our lives are in danger there. We need help! Please ask your politicians not to deport us to Iraq as it’s not safe. It’s the most dangerous country in the world – everyone knows this! Yet they are trying to send us back. Please help us. Thank you.” [signed] Fazzel Abdul Ahmed, Najem Hata, Alan Jamal, Saoud Abdulla, Ali Ahmed, and Kawa Ahmad (or Hamad?).

** You are encouraged speak to these men yourself: Fazzel: 07743 697993; Najem: 07729 480902; Alan Jamal: 07752 505626.**

MORE MEDICAL NEGLECT ALLEGED. Najem Hata further told us that he has been in Campsfield for a month and a half, suffered a heart attack there, but didn’t receive “normal treatment”. This is entirely consistent with other (and even worse) reports of medical neglect in Campsfield and other IRCs, where “normal treatment” in fact seems to consist of paracetemol – which the detainee may have to pay for himself. We have urged Najem to contact the Medical Justice Network

ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND: “FORCED REPATRIATION – UK” is a highly informative and powerful 20-minute documentary about forced returns to Iraq. It was made last year by Joka Films: The team went to Northern Iraq, interviewed forced-returnees and their families, and even a Regional Authority minister – pleading with the UK government not to return any more people.

One young forced-returnee says his only options are to join the army or the police “and get blown up”, or stay indoors – which he does: “over here the most sacred things are guns; but I hate guns; I have never picked one up and I never will”.

Very similar stories can of course also be told of those being forced to return, or starved into returning ‘voluntarily’, to Congo, Afghanistan, China, Sri-Lanka …

Bob Hughes


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