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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

UK: flawed report used to send Algerian refugees back to face an uncertain fate

from the Guardian:

A pile-up of shameful contradictions: A report ignoring Algeria's appalling human rights record is being used to send refugees back to face an uncertain fate
The offending line in the Algerian country report was written by Brian Davis, a Canadian diplomat, for his country's immigration services after a trip to Algeria in 2001. "To the knowledge of the persons I met," he wrote, "and to the local UNHCR office, there has never been any problem encountered by persons returned to Algeria."
Hassan couldn't believe that the Algerian UNHCR would say deportees encounter no problems. He was told by the Geneva headquarters: "Only the HQ in Geneva is responsible for establishing UNHCR's position related to refugees worldwide". So had Geneva sanctioned the statement from the Algiers office? The man in Geneva wouldn't say.

When questioned, he did acknowledge that "it would seem the statement would be too strong because we are rarely informed of what happens when cases are returned". The official position is that "there is a re-emerging concern that persons who are returned to Algeria may face hostile treatment".
Last month, Immigration Advisory Services (IAS) published an analysis of 15 CIPU reports, including the one on Algeria. They expressed "serious doubts" about their validity, said they suffered from "unbalanced representation, serious breach of objectivity, inclusion of blatant political opinion and unattributed statements". Of the Algeria report, IAS said the "use of out-of-date material is particularly problematic".
By the time this is in print, Hassan may have been deported. He can't bring himself to articulate his fears.

read full story ...


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