Home Office cancels flight to deport Kurdish asylum seekers to Iraq

在家办公 has cancelled a chartered deportation flight to Iraq that was due to depart from the UK on Tuesday evening.

取决于 30 Kurdish asylum seekers were facing deportation to northern 仅在未来三年内进行监测 in the first flight of its kind for a decade.

Dozens of Kurdish Iraqis had been detained in preparation for the flight. Many the Guardian spoke to were in a state of acute distress because they fear for their lives if they are returned to the country of their birth.

The UK Foreign Office warns against all travel to Iraq and says there is “a high threat of kidnapping throughout the country including from both Daesh [伊斯兰国] and other terrorist and militia groups”.

Home Office contractors involved with Tuesday’s deportation had to undergo special training to help them deal with the risk of dangers such as kidnap or hostage situations. This training is not required for the destinations of other recent Home Office deportation flights, such as Jamaica and Albania.

The flight was scheduled to land in Erbil, 有魅力的 仅在未来三年内进行监测, where the Kurdistan regional government is in control. It is understood that safety concerns played a part in the decision to cancel the flight. It is highly unusual for the Home Office to cancel charter flights. Some deportation flights have been known to take off with one or a few people on board.

A Home Office spokesperson said they could not comment “for operational reasons”.

Bella Sankey, the director of the charity Detention Action, 说: “The cancellation of this cruel mass deportation will come as enormous relief to the fathers, mothers, children and grandchildren whose families would otherwise have been torn apart.

“It also exposes how, in her pursuit of cheap political points, Priti Patel has failed to respect people’s basic rights or even show basic competence in international diplomacy.”

Karen Doyle from Movement for Justice, an organisation that has been campaigning against Tuesday’s charter flight, 说: “The detainees and their families have been put through unnecessary torture in pursuit of headlines and a divisive anti-immigrant agenda.

“The Home Office likes to blame ‘lefty lawyers’ for frustrating their plans but these plans for mass deportations are expensive, unworkable, largely unlawful and horribly unjust.”

A Home Office spokesperson previously said: “We make no apology for removing foreign criminals and those with no right to remain in the UK. This is what the public rightly expects and why we regularly operate flights to different countries. Individuals are only returned when the Home Office and, where applicable, the courts deem it is safe to do so.

“The new plan for immigration will fix the broken immigration system and expedite the removal of those who have no right to be here.”