BAGHDAD — Several dozen Iraqis who did not gain asylum in Europe returned to Iraq yesterday despite concerns the country is still too dangerous, the UN refugee agency said.
Security has dramatically improved in Iraq since the height of sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, but the UN agency has urged governments not to force Iraqis who fled the country after the 2003 US-led invasion to return, citing continued attacks and human rights violations.
After the plane carrying the deportees landed at Baghdad’s airport, 10 of the passengers refused to disembark and had to be escorted off the aircraft by police, an airport official said.
The returnees did not resist the security personnel who boarded the plane but told them they were not returning to Iraq voluntarily, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
The official said all the deportees will be questioned by police before re-entering the country.
The plane arrived from Stockholm with 27 Iraqi deportees from Sweden, nine from Norway, four from the Netherlands, and an unknown number from the United Kingdom, Sybella Wilkes, a UN spokeswoman, said. The Iraqi official said 56 deportees were returned yesterday.
Most of the 2 million Iraqi refugees are living without permanent homes in neighboring Syria and Jordan.