Middle East News
Refugees deported back to Iraq from Sweden, police say (Roundup)
Jan 19, 2011, 15:15 GMT
Stockholm - Swedish police Wednesday said a plane with 26 deported Iraqi refugees landed at Baghdad airport, hours after 25 activists attempted to block their repatriation, saying security in Iraq was too dangerous.
About 50 activists took part in the overnight protest resulting in 25 arrests, police said. The Iraqi asylum seekers were taken from an asylum centre to Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, where they were put on board a plane.
The 26 asylum seekers whose applications were rejected included six Iraqis who had sought asylum in Denmark, a spokesman for the Swedish border police told the German Press Agency dpa.
The plans have been criticized by various international agencies - including the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR - citing fears that the refugees would be returned to areas where Christians and other minorities have recently come under attack.
Swedish churches, human rights groups, and members of the opposition have also protested the move.
Swedish courts and the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights have, however, not intervened in these cases, Mikael Ribbenvik, head of the Migration Board's legal division, told broadcaster TV4.
'Some 50 per cent of Iraqi asylum seekers were allowed to stay in 2010,' Ribbenvik added.
Lise Bergh, secretary general of the Swedish section of rights group Amnesty International, said the organization was 'very concerned' over the decision. At least 14 refugees were to be sent to five regions were there were grave security concerns, she said.
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