Iraq has told British parliamentarians it opposes the return of Iraqi refugees there against their will as the country tries to recover from a war that displaced millions inside and abroad.
In a statement, the Iraqi foreign ministry said Minister Jassem al-Jaff, meeting a delegation of members of the UK houses of commons and lords, said “Iraq continues to coordinate with all European countries to work out suitable solutions for asylum seekers like encouraging their voluntary return to their homeland while ensuring attention to the humanitarian sides at host countries”.
He added that his government works to create work opportunities and restore stability to areas recaptured from Islamic State militants.
Iraq has regularly urged world countries not to force Iraqi refugees to return home, arguing that such action could violate international laws.
Iraq’s war against the Islamic State displaced nearly five million of civilians both inside and outside the country, and left thousands dead. Of those displaced, nearly a half have returned home, according to government and U.N statistics.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State last December, ending a three-year war to bring down the group’s self-styled “caliphate” declared from Nineveh’s Mosul in 2014.