Thursday, October 11, 2007

More On the Iraqi Employees

Well, I was there as were a number of bloggers (though work and illness did thin the field somewhat.) A number of MPs turned up and I will post some pictures when I can acquire an HDSD card reader :(

Dan would like to draw your attention to this:
Iraqi Employees: the next letter

Our Government is still proposing to abandon people to the death squads for having worked for the troops it sent, in our name, to Iraq.

The 'twelve month' stipulation is utterly unacceptable. In the Miliband statement, the Government committed itself to doing nothing to shelter people at risk from death squads for having worked for British soldiers or diplomats, unless they can prove that they have worked for the British for a continuous period of twelve months.

There are a lot of local employees who fled their jobs before 12 months precisely because they had been targeted, or who did a 6-month tour for one British battalion and were then told to go and work for the Americans, or who did 12 months or more with interruptions, or who the Army didn't give proper documentation too. Mark Brockway (former Sergeant-Major, TA Royal Engineers) said so, several times, at the meeting on October 9th; so did Andrew Alderson (Major, Yeomanry); so do the employees, and serving soldiers, who are in touch with them, or with me, by email.

This is indescribably shabby. It has to be changed.

The first letters to MPs worked. Telephoning the offices of MPs, I was frequently told 'They've written to the Home Office about it- they got all these letters from constituents.' So without the letters that you wrote, we wouldn't have had Brown's partial climbdown, which may at least save the lives of those hundreds of Iraqis who can prove that they worked for twelve months for us. Write another letter- or write your first- and we can save some more lives.

As before, bullet points for a letter are below. So is a form letter, but don't send it unchanged: adapt it a lot. It's just there to help people over writer's block. Again, be courteous when writing to your MP and put your full address including the postcode, to indicate that you are a constituent. If you don't know who your MP is, you can find out here. You should address letters to: (MP's Name), The House of Commons, Westminster, London. SW1A 0AA. When you get a reply, let me know (in comments, or to danhardie.blog@gmail.com ) so that we can see which MPs we can work with, and which need persuading.

Bullet points:

  • David Miliband's Statement on 'Iraq: Locally Recruited Civilians' of 9th October stated that Britain will help to resettle- in the wider Middle East, or in the United Kingdom- Iraqis who can prove that they have worked for this country's soldiers or diplomats for a continuous period of twelve months.
  • Hundreds of Iraqis have been targeted for assassination for having worked for this country. Some have worked for a period of twelve months exclusively for the British and can prove this. Some have not but have been pinpointed for murder anyway. We have a responsibility to save these people from being murdered for the 'crime' of working for the British.
  • There are a lot of local employees who fled their jobs before 12 months precisely because they had been targeted, or who did a 6-month tour for one British battalion and were then told to go and work for the Americans, or who did 12 months or more with interruptions, or who the Army didn't give proper documentation too.
  • Iraqi staff members must be given shelter not because of their provable length of service but according to whether they have been identified for murder by local death squads. This can be investigated on the spot by Army officers and referred rapidly to London: the process needs to start now.
  • Mr Miliband's statement did not mention the families of Iraqi employees. As Iraqi militias also murder the families of their 'enemies', we must resettle our employees' families as well. Mark Brockway, an ex-soldier who hired many Iraqis, estimates that we are talking about a maximum of 700 Iraqis to resettle: this country admits 190,000 immigrants net every year.
  • Iraqis have already been targeted for murder for having worked for this country. We will be shamed if we allow more to be killed for the same reason. Our soldiers, who are angry at this betrayal, and our diplomats, will be placed at risk if they gain a reputation for abandoning their local helpers.

Form letter:

(MP's Name)

The House Of Commons

Westminster

London. SW1A 0AA.

Your full name and address.

Dear (MP's Name)

As you will have read in the Times, Iraqis who have worked for British soldiers or diplomats are being targeted for murder by local militia. An unknown number have already been killed and more have been forced into hiding.

On October 9th, David Miliband's statement on 'Locally Recruited Civilians' in Iraq said that Britain would offer assistance with resettlement for Iraqis who had worked with British forces, but only if they could prove that they had worked for us for 12 months or more. This is effectively leaving hundreds of Iraqis, who have risked their lives for this country's forces, to the mercy of the death squads.

Mark Brockway, a former soldier who employed many Iraqis, told Channel Four News on 9th October that local staff often worked for six months for British units, during which time they were frequently identified as 'enemies' by the local militias. I believe that the Government has a direct responsibility for the safety of these people.

I feel that it is morally unacceptable that this country is following such a policy. I also believe it will endanger our soldiers and diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can I please ask you to write to the Foreign Office, and also to the Home Office which has charge of asylum policy, to ask why the Government is prepared to ignore the plight of hundreds of people who were placed at risk serving this country's soldiers.

Yours sincerely

The Government's responses (PM and Miliblogger) are politically disingenuous and inadequate. They need to do better and, as Alex says, the process for implementing any asylum or relocation is key.

BTW - Shotgun - we clearly disagree on this. You feel that concentration should be solely on the British troops, I feel that two wrongs do not make a right and that just because things could be improved for British servicemen in Iraq (and Afghanistan) is no reason to ignore the plight of local employees.

1 comment:

Shotgun said...

BTW - Shotgun - we clearly disagree on this. You feel that concentration should be solely on the British troops, I feel that two wrongs do not make a right and that just because things could be improved for British servicemen in Iraq (and Afghanistan) is no reason to ignore the plight of local employees.

The plight of British servicemen is only a small part of my objection to this shameless campaign.

The Iraqis must take respnsibility for their own people; why are we in any way to blame?

Resttlement could be achieved anywhere in Iraq, which is a very large place.

British soldiers must take complete and utter precedence; you may find this distasteful, but I would put British lives before Iaqis.

Where is the campaign, as vociferous and passionate as this, to bring British servicemen home?

This is an admission of defeat at a time when we should be trying to raise moral.

It is a serious and callous insult to previous British servicemen who have died and been injured to allow, and campaign, Iraqis into the UK because it is too dangerous for them in Iraq.

What about other Iraqis? Hundreds die every month; are these not deserving?

The same Iraqis under threat of death should be working for and protected by the new Iraqi authorities, and if they are not, why not?

And so on and so on.

To suggest they must come to the UK because it is too dangerous for them in Iraq is probably the worst insult I can think of to British servicemen who are serving and have served in Iraq, and while you say tow wrongs don't make a right, which I agree with, it is still a wrong that shouldn't be added and built on from the original; let's not make the second wrong.

If you truly believe the rubbish in this campaign, then campaign as vociferously that we have been defeated and the troops should come home immediately. I don't see that there is a specific plight of these people, and don't believe there is one that exists above and beyond what already exists in Iraqs back streets and what everyone is subject to. Yes, they are targeted, but so are millions of others.

If you and others campaigned to have them resettled in Iraq, or the Jordan or where-ever, then fine I am with you, but back to the UK because it is to dangerous for them? I think that is unacceptable, and that is not an immigration view. Too many are using this as purely a campaigning issue for bloggers and don't care what the issue is, but it is a strong issue, and has raised their profiles, and that is what counts for them. (I don't include you in that)

 
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