Finland forcibly deported 63 Iraqi asylum seekers: official source

Iraqi refugees

Baghdad ( Finland deported 63 Iraqi asylum seekers this year without informing Iraqi diplomatic officials, a government source was quoted saying on Tuesday.

Alghad Press quoted a source at the Foreign Ministry saying that “Finnish police deported 63 Iraqi asylum seekers forcibly during the first half of 2017 though no official agreement was signed with Iraq to that end”.

He said the Iraqi embassy in Helsinki had informed the ministry it was not notified of the measure, adding that migrants are held “under the pretext of protection from smugglers” but are later deported aboard Turkish and Qatari flights.

“The Iraqi embassy in Helsinki has no information regarding the persons forcibly deported, and had stressed on the voluntary deportation official at the Finnish police to not to take any measures regarding refugees’ forced deportation,” the source said.

Alghad Press said it reached official documents from the Iraqi transport ministry revealing coordination with Iraqi Airways offices in  Beirut and the Iraqi embassy in Amman to facilitate the return of refugees in Finland.

Finnish migration authorities said in 2016 that 70  percent of Iraqi asylum applicants had withdrawn their applications citing prolonged paperwork, hostility towards migrants and family issues.

More than 32500 asylum seekers had arrived to Finland in 2015, nearly 71 percent of whom had their applications turned down.


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