KRG opposes forced returns for Kurdish asylum seekers in the UK: MP
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Chiya Sharif, a member of the Foreign Relations and Kurdish Diaspora Committee, told Kurdistan 24 that his committee and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are against the enforced return of Iraqi Kurds from the United Kingdom.
The British government in recent years has taken more strict asylum procedures to limit illegal migration to the United Kingdom.
In an update on Mar. 29, the UK government said they will work to enforce returns for failed asylum seekers who fail "to comply with our attempts to return them."
Moreover, on Apr. 15, the UK government signed an agreement with Rwanda to send new asylum seekers crossing the English Channel to the African country.
Sharif, a parliament member of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told Kurdistan 24 that the rumor the KRG reached a deal with the UK to forcefully return failed asylum seekers is false.
The UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, on Apr. 20, hosted the Kurdistan Region's Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in London. During their meeting, Patel updated Barzani on the UK's deal with Rwanda and how it "will help break the business model of the people smugglers behind the small boat crossings in the Channel."
In a Facebook at the time, Barzani said that she "thanked us for the coordination and cooperation of the KRG with the British government on the illegal immigration issue."
However, Sharif told Kurdistan 24 that there is no deal between the UK government and the KRG on forcefully sending Kurdish asylum seekers back to the Kurdistan Region.
"The KRG government is against the forceful return of Kurdish asylum seekers," he said.
"We, as the Foreign Relations and Kurdish Diaspora Committee Committee, are against any forceful deportation of Kurdish asylum seekers," he added.
However, he said the committee is not against voluntary returns to the Kurdistan Region.
He added that some Iraqi Kurds who have grown tired of waiting for long periods for their asylum approval have been willing to go back.
Several Kurdish migrants in the past have drowned in the English Channel after trying to reach the UK from France.