Lord Navnit Dholakia
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
Dear Navnit Dholakia,
As a member of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network I am writing to support your recent call for the suspension of deportations of Iraqis to Baghdad (22 June 2010, House of Lords). I deplore the fact that this call did not receive the response it deserved from the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lord Howell.
It is heartening that you and your fellow Liberal Democrat peers are in favour of the moratorium, as are a number of peers of other persuasions.
However, the Coalition Government policy on this is surely unacceptable. It seems that deportations are to continue irrespective of the concerns raised over both the immediate and the long-term safety of many of the deportees. These concerns continue to be raised by no lesser authority than the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, supported by Amnesty International, Oxfam and others.
Recently, the government has shown itself capable of accepting enlightened positions, notably the decision of the Supreme Court on Gay asylum seekers. Should you not be pressing it further on the matter of the Iraqi deportees? Can any self-respecting government be allowed systematically to oppose the UNHCR and the humanitarian organisations?