Friday 14 May 2021

Iraq refuses to accept refugees who don’t want to be sent back

Iraq will not help the government in its efforts to deport Iraq nationals who have failed to become officially recognised as asylum seekers, junior justice minister Fred Teeven told Nos television.

Teeven has just returned from a visit to Iraq, but the country is refusing to accept failed asylum seekers who are being deported against their will, Teeven said. Only Iraqi nationals who volunteer to go back are accepted.

‘They were intensive talks because Iraq is not enthusiastic,’ Teeven told the broadcaster. ‘It is a question of taking a deep breath and there are many obstacles to overcome. There is willingness to cooperate on a cautious scale.’


The group of failed refugees who have been living in tents and former churches in the Netherlands include many Iraqis. They cannot be deported because they don’t have the proper paperwork but are not entitled to official accommodation from the Dutch state.

According to Nos, Iraq says too many of its citizens are returning to be taken care of and found jobs. Last year, over 65,000 families returned from abroad.

Teeven’s predecessor Gerd Leers offered Iraq €5m in development aid to accept deportees but Iraq demanded $10,000 per person instead, Nos said.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.