1400 Iraqis are to have their support withdrawn following notification by the Home Office that they no longer qualify on the basis that there is ‘no safe route of return’. The announcement, reported by the Guardian this week, is a further statement from the government that it believes that Iraq is safe for all those who have been refused asylum to return to. The move affects Iraqi asylum seekers from all parts of Iraq, including central and southern Iraq, despite ongoing reports of randomised violence and killings.
The Iraqis affected by the latest announcement are all being supported under Section 4, which is a very basic form of support that includes a bed, and three meals a day or vouchers. Once this has been withdrawn, this group will be left entirely without any means of support, and no way of supporting themselves as they are not entitled to work.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“This is a particularly shocking example of the government’s policy of using destitution to starve people into leaving the country.
“It is a nasty policy and a failed one, that doesn’t achieve its stated aim of encouraging return. Iraq is still patently unsafe and people from there are terrified of going back. Removing support in such cases only results in one thing: more hungry and homeless people living in constant fear.
“Most Iraqis want to go home when it is safe. Until then, we should be offering them the chance to live decently here in the UK.”
Guardian article: Iraqi asylum seekers given deadline to go home or face destitution in UK