Saturday, March 17, 2007

UN refugee agency 'deeply disturbed' over raid on Palestinians in Baghdad

Palestinian refugees gathered at a camp near the Iraqi-Syrian border last week, whose ranks have already swelled to 850 -- including children. In a December report, the UN said, "Palestinians have been specifically targeted in Iraq and have no safe haven or support network there. There are still an estimated 15,000 Palestinians in Iraq – out of some 34,000 in 2003. In Baghdad, they live in a climate of constant fear and are unable to get proper documents. Hundreds who have tried to flee are stuck at the Syrian border or in an isolated camp inside Jordan. And those who have succeeded in leaving Iraq often did so illegally."

GENEVA, March 16 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency said on Friday it was deeply disturbed by a raid conducted by the Iraqi security forces earlier this week in a Palestinian area of Baghdad that left at least one person dead.

Sixty people were reportedly detained during Wednesday's raid, but most were released and just nine are said to be still in detention. The raid prompted at least 41 other Palestinians to flee the capital and join 850 compatriots who have been stranded at the Iraq-Syria border since last May...

The dead man was a guard at a Baghdad mosque and reportedly suffered at least one gunshot to the head. "UNHCR and other organisations have also received allegations of physical abuse and possibly torture being carried out in detention, an allegation denied by the Iraqi authorities," Redmond said. "One ex-detainee reported he was beaten on his back and suffered a broken hand. He believed that others had been subjected to worse treatment," he added.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

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