US judge extends halt on Iraqi deportations

Family members of detainees line up to enter the federal court just before a hearing to consider a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Iraqi nationals facing deportation, in Detroit, Michigan. (Reuters)
Updated 07 July 2017
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US judge extends halt on Iraqi deportations

A federal judge on Thursday halted the deportation of all Iraqi nationals detained during recent immigration sweeps across the United States until at least July 24, extending a stay that was originally set to expire on Monday.
US District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit said there was “good cause” to extend the stay, which was sought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU says those arrested in immigration enforcement operations last month mostly in Michigan and Tennessee face persecution, torture or death if they are deported to Iraq.
Many of 199 Iraqis detained — largely in the Detroit area and in Nashville — were Chaldean Catholics and Iraqi Kurds. Both groups say they could be targeted for attacks in Iraq because they are visible minorities.
Those arrested by immigration authorities had outstanding deportation orders and many had been convicted of serious crimes, ranging from homicide to weapons and drug charges, according to the US government.
Some of those affected came to the United States as children and committed their crimes decades ago, but they had been allowed to stay because Iraq previously declined to issue them travel documents. The US government considered Iraq one of the recalcitrant countries that refused to accept back people ordered deported by US immigration courts.
That changed after Iraq agreed in March to start accepting US deportees as part of a deal that removed the country from President Donald Trump’s revised temporary travel ban.
Goldsmith ruled earlier that the stay should be applied to allow detainees time to find legal representation to appeal against their deportation orders.


Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

Updated 18 June 2018
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Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

  • British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.
  • Johnson noted however that the council had an important role to play in “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item.”

GENEVA: Britain on Monday urged the UN Human Rights Council to reform its treatment of Israel, joining the United States in demanding an end to the body’s alleged bias against the Jewish State.
Addressing the opening of the 38th council session, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.
“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7,” Johnson said.
Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item.
Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in condemning Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with arguably worse rights records in recent years, like Syria are spared such intense scrutiny.
While previous US administrations have criticized Item 7, President Donald Trump’s government has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the council unless it is scrapped.
Johnson noted however that the council had an important role to play in “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item.”
Each council session includes an agenda item on so-called country specific situations, known as Agenda Item 4, where debates on the crises in Syria, Burundi and others typically take place.