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Apparently the white lists were scrapped earlier this year but when they had it Iraq was never on it. The white lists referred to countries in which there was not a widespread pattern of human rights abuses. This information came from the Middle East desk at the foreign office. The person i spoke to phoned the home office to check up on the white lists and then phoned me back. This would appear to suggest the person who wrote to the Observer was mistaken. The Observer and the Guardian certainly don't edit factual inaccuracies from letters sent in. (If they did Peter Hain's letters would be v much shortened..)
Before I did that I tried to phone the Home Office regarding the white lists and got the run around for about an hour, on hold, getting cut off etc. before someone finally told me that the policy makers on asylum don't take phone calls . It's v odd, getting through to Barbara Roche's (immigration minister) office seems to be much harder than anywhere else in Government.
Incidentally i also discovered how ridiculously difficult it is for anyone trying to get through on the so called asylum information/ helpline. Helpfully (!) all the Home Office staff are v keen to give you fax numbers for faxing letters etc regarding asylum applications. So if you're an asylum seeker heading for the UK, remember to pack your fax machine....
"F.Dowker" <F.Dowker@qmw.ac.uk> wrote:
The following letter appeared in yesterday's Guardian. Does anyone
have any independent corroboration of the claim? Is the white list
an official list and has Iraq recently been placed on it? I looked
on the Home Offic page and the last entry for Iraq is April 2000.
If true, it is a useful tidbit for us in countering claims that the
government cares about the human rights of Iraqi people persecuted by
"Iraqis on the list"
Sunday December 10, 2000
Your article on Saddam's
executioners (World, last week) must
be malign propaganda. The Home
Office, (Immigration and Nationality
Directorate) has only recently decided
to place Iraq on the 'white list'. This
means that asylum seekers from Iraq
fall to be treated under the expedited
procedure as the directorate is
satisfied that the conditions of law and
order, treatment of prisoners, and civil
liberty is such that it is unlikely that
Iraq will produce genuine refugees. I
appreciate that you give UNHCR as a
link, but surely in terms of veracity,
there is no contest when comparing
UNHCR's opinion with that of Jack
Straw and his driven minions.
+ Fay Dowker +
+ Physics Department +
+ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Queen Mary, University of London +
+ Phone: +44-(0)20-7882-5047 Mile End Road +
+ Fax: +44-(0)20-8981-9465 London E1 4NS, UK +
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