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Return of 1,300 Iraqi refugees problematic

Iraq’s Migration Minister Shafiq Duski arrives in the Netherlands on Sunday evening for talks with Dutch Immigration Minister Gerd Leers.

Their discussions will centre on the problems surrounding the repatriation to Iraq of about 1,300 failed asylum seekers. According to foreign ministry figures, around 160 families, most of them with young children, are among the refugees.

They also include people who were given temporary residence permits till the end of 2008. It was standard procedure at the time to issue such permits because of the war in Iraq. Later the permits were rescinded after the situation in Iraq was reviewed.

Since 2008, about 2,500 Iraqi asylum seekers have voluntarily returned to their homeland.

In 2010 and 2011, most requests for asylum in the Netherlands came from people from Afghanistan. Iraqis accounted for the third biggest group, after refugees from Somalia.

In 2011, there were around 2,000 asylum requests from Iraqis: 1,400 of these requests were granted.

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