Netherlands begins deporting migrants to Kurdistan Region after agreement

Family deported to Erbil without passports
(Photo: NRT Digital Media )

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SULAIMANI – The Netherlands began deporting Kurdish migrants on Tuesday evening (December 18) after an agreement between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Dutch government came into force.

The head of Iraqi Migration Federation Ari Jalal told NRT Digital Media that Dutch authorities deported the first group of people from the Region this evening, flying them to Erbil International Airport.

“A Kurdish family who had been living in the Netherlands for three years were [the first to be] deported. They were unable to present any official documents, even an Iraqi passport, when they arrived [in Erbil]. This proves that the deportation was illegal and without from their consent,” Jalal said, decrying it as a violation to their human rights and status as refugees.

“Hundreds of immigrants will now be worried about their status. A number have committed suicide in the past [because they did not want to return],” he added.

“I am asking the KRG to stop this.”

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on Tuesday morning (December 18) and the two sides said they discussed migration.

In the most recent Dutch parliamentary elections in March 2017, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) ran to the right on immigration, infamously releasing an open letter telling immigrants to “Act normal or go away.”

International law has enshrined the principle of non-refoulement, that prohibits states from force migrants to return to places where there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be at risk of persecution, torture, ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations.

(NRT Digital Media)