I have written to Priti Patel about this dreadful situation, and that letter is below:
The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
London SW1P 4DF
Dear Secretary of State,
The attached letter to you from the IFIR (International Federation of Iraqi Refugees) which you have, says so much more than I possibly could about the proposed deportation flight to Erbil tomorrow, May 31st.
The facts as I understand them are that many of those who will be on that flight are as follows:
- still engaged in the legal process, with ongoing outstanding claims
- have been badly treated by Mitie staff whilst in detention (a matter for further investigation surely)
- have serious medical needs that have been neglected to date
- are not from Erbil where they are to be abandoned to no friends/family/contacts
- in effect settled here, with longstanding and close ties to family including in a variety of roles from husbands, to partners, step parents, grandparents and so on
- in some cases were born here and so are being unnecessarily uprooted
Furthermore, Iraq is in a state of ongoing turmoil thanks to the Iraq War and we bear considerable responsibility for the associated trauma of anyone living there, or in the wider region.
As an oppressed people, the Kurdish community in particular have had an ongoing and dreadful ordeal, and we owe it to them not to exacerbate their unresolved situation, many of them having fled not once but twice or three times throughout their lives.
I remain vehemently opposed to these charter flights that the Home Office is persisting with and the cruel process of which they are a part. I would ask you to try to imagine what hell a refugee must already have gone through, before beginning the asylum process. It is imperative that we act in a humane way toward refugees and asylum seekers and not continue to force more refugees onto a flight out of a supposedly caring society, and into a largely traumatised one.
I look forward to hearing that you have been willing to reconsider your plans here.
Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP