Turkey: Expulsion of Iranians confirmed, UNHCR raises concerns with government
UNHCR has raised its serious concerns to the Government of Turkey in respect of the expulsion last month of five Iranian refugees to northern Iraq.
The refugees were recognised in Turkey by UNHCR under its mandate in view of the geographical limitation applied by Turkey to the 1951 Refugee Convention. UNHCR has received information that the five have spent almost a month in detention in Erbil, Iraq, and have just been released.
Following communications with the Turkish authorities, UNHCR received confirmation that the expulsion took place on 22 August and that the five had been sent to northern Iraq. UNHCR is concerned that no due process of law was followed prior to the expulsion and that UNHCR was not given any prior information of the authorities' intention to expel these persons or of the expulsion itself.
To forcibly send persons to Iraq's northern governorates if they do not originate from there is contrary to UNHCR's guidelines. The security situation in northern Iraq, although relatively calm compared to the rest of Iraq, is still tense and unpredictable.
UNHCR considers that unless sufficient safeguards are taken, the expulsion of refugees under its mandate may lead to a violation of the principle of non-refoulement enshrined in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of which Turkey is a signatory and which is a universally recognized principle of refugee protection.