4 reasons why no one should be deported to Iraq


The Finnish Immigration Service is publishing its new security assessment on Iraq on Tuesday 20th October 2015. Finland has until now granted protection for all those coming from central Iraq on grounds of insecure situation in the area. This line is about to be tightened, and new areas in Iraq deemed as ‘safe’.

However, no one should be deported to Iraq, since:

  1.  Iraq is a war zone

There are no signs that the security situation in Iraq would be getting better, on the contrary. The violent conflict in the country involve the ISIS, Iraqi government troops and militias, as well as numerous external powers, operating either directly or through proxies. According to human rights organisations, serious human rights violations, ethnic cleansings, kidnappings and arbitrary arrests and executions are commonplace. Tens, even hundreds are killed and wounded daily in bombings and strikes. In August 2015, there were 318 dead and 751 wounded in violence in Baghdad alone. During the same month, 1325 died and 1811 were wounded in the whole country. The violent attacks targeting civilian population are not perpetrated only by the ISIS,  but also by government forces and militias collaborating with the government. Particularly the security situation in Baghdad is dismal as the city serves as the arena of a bloody sectarian conflict. Both ISIS and the Shia militias carry out attacks. A majority of the Sunnis have fled from the city. Bombs can kill anyone – they don’t ask your religion. The militias also threaten anybody who dares to criticize or resist them or doesn’t have powerful protectors.


  1. Iraqi government does not protect its citizens

The Iraqi government cannot be seen as representing all its citizens and does not hold legitimity in the eyes of the population at large. It cannot protect its citizens from violence, and is on the contrary implicated in the internal conflict and persecution of civilians. The country has been splintered into areas controlled more or less tightly by the Kurds, ISIS and the government troops. The Iraqi administration is extremely corrupted and unable to provide basic necessities such as electricity or health care. Demonstrations against the Iraqi government have continued for years, and have often been violently suppressed.


  1. There are no safe areas in a civil war

Throughout Iraq and especially in the Baghdad area, security situation is very unstable and can change quickly. Even in areas deemed as ‘safe’, the situation can deteriorate rapidly into catastrophic direction. The Finnish Immigration Service’s practice of dividing countries with deep internal crisis into safe and unsafe areas is problematic. In Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, for example, violent conflicts have continued for years or decades, and these states cannot take responsibility for their citizens. It is also questionable, whether the Finnish authorities are able to determine the region of origin of individual asylum applicants. The language and dialect tests used in determining this are not reliable.


  1. Iraq is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe

Already in August 2014 the UN designated its highest level emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. In July 2015, there were 4 million internally displaced people in the country. Their amount is continuously increasing. 10 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency help by the end of 2015. The UN refugee organisation UNHCR has recommended, that no one should be forcibly returned to Iraq.


The Free Movement Network demands that the country security assessments have to be based on independent research, not on the objectives of a populist immigration politics. In the light of international organisations and human rights reports, it is clear that Iraq is not a safe country.

Readmission agreements should not be negotiated with a government unable to protect its citizens. Moreover, as the Swedish example makes clear, such agreements do not mean that refugees could in fact be returned. Tightening asylum criteria for Iraqis and Somalis would in practice multiply the number of undocumented migrants living in Finland. Due to the continued instability of these countries, it is expected that many asylum seekers will in the face of negative asylum decision seek ways to remain in Finland. From July 2015 onwards, however, Finland does not any longer give temporary permits for people who cannot be returned. This means, that in the near future there could be an increase of thousands of undocumented migrants in Finland.


Read the Free Movement -networks full statement here.

Read the appeal of Iraqi asylum seekers to the Finnish government and Finnish people from here.

Support the demands of the Iraqi asylum seekers: No deportations to Iraq! Iraq is not a safe country! Iraq’s government does not protect its citizens!


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