A protest calling for an end to the continuing policy of deportations to Iraq was held outside the Home Office on 11 September 2008.
Organised by the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees and the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq, it not only called for an end to the policy of deportations to Iraq, but also commemorated the recent deaths of two Iraqi asylum seekers.
Hussein Ali committed suicide two days after being deported to Erbil, Iraq on 7 August 2008. The 35-year-old shot himself in the cellar of his home in Kurdistan. He had been in the UK since 2002.
Mohammad Hussain died from cancer on 3 August 2008. He sought refuge in the UK in 2000, following threats from the Kurdish Democratic Party because of his political campaigning. Earlier this year, in May 2008, he narrowly avoided deportation after an order was successfully challenged by his lawyer.
At the end of the event, the organisers handed a petition with over 2,000 signatories to the Home Office, calling on the government to end deportations to Iraq.
Britain has been deporting refused asylum seekers to areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) since 2005 . But in March 2008, leaked Home Office correspondence indicated that refused Iraqi asylum seekers would only have three weeks in which to take up offers of voluntary return to Iraq or would have their support entitlements withdrawn . The documents signalled a dramatic change in government policy, with travel routes to Iraq being deemed safe .
A few weeks later, a landmark Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruling found that Iraqis could be returned to war-torn parts of their own country . This ruling paved the way for the commencement of deportations to all parts of Iraq.
IRR News article on Hussein Ali: Two asylum seekers take their own lives
IRR News article on Mohammad Hussain: Appeal for funds to send Iraqi man home