Iraq forcibly deports Syrians despite legal residency, Human Rights Watch reports

BAGHDAD / ERBIL, Kurdistan Region of Iraq — Iraqi authorities have forcibly and arbitrarily deported several Syrians back to Syria, despite their possession of documents proving their official residence in Iraq, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported.

HRW stated that the deportation of asylum seekers violates Iraq’s obligations as a party to the UN Convention Against Torture and the principle of non-refoulement in customary international law. This principle prohibits forcibly returning individuals to countries where they face a clear risk of torture or other forms of persecution. Syria is still considered unsuitable for the safe and dignified return of refugees.

HRW documented numerous cases of deportation by authorities in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), including individuals with legal residency papers.

In its report, HRW called on the Iraqi government to immediately halt the arbitrary arrest, detention, and deportation of Syrian asylum seekers. The organization urged Iraqi authorities to establish a practical system for determining asylum status in line with international standards.