The Iraqi Red Crescent Societyin cooperation with the Swedish Red Cross implementing a migration Programme targeting Iraqi returnees who’stheir request for asylum have been rejected in Sweden. In line with Strategy 2020, the IRP facilitate social integration of the Iraqi returnees who have voluntarily chosen to return to their homeland after their requests for asylum were rejected. Returning home after living abroad is not an easy decision to make, for most returnees it means a new start. Thus the Programme provides the returnees with information as well as psycho-social support and different kinds of assistances followed by periodic monitoring visits to facilitate their social reintegration.
Asylum seekers who are deported should have the opportunity to return in a humane manner and with full respect for their fundamental rights and dignity.
The program aims at securing a safe and dignified return to the Iraqi people whose asylum seeking request in Sweden was rejected through responding to the expected needs of the returnees and assisting them to cope with the challenges that they might be facing upon their return home and resuming their lives. The programme covered returnees’ cases in Baghdad, Erbil, Sulymaniya and Dohuk in addition to Najaf and Basra. The Iraqi Returnees programme has different sequential stages starting from receiving the returnees at the airport, taking care of their immediate needs, providing them with psychosocial support, and offering them assistances to ease their settlement such as food items, non-food items, hygiene kits, children’s kits, transit accommodation, medical care and needs and ending in having periodical monitoring visits for the returnees (as soon as return, after three months and after one year).
Not only did the programme achieve its intended result of providing a safe and dignified return of unsuccessful Iraq asylum seeker from Sweden, but resulted to seamless and excellent coordination between Swedish Red Cross, Iraq red Crescent and the Federation The programme adopted a networking system which has proved to be successful in achieving the planned for and expected results. Due to the nature of the programme, its implementation involved two separate geographical locations to facilitate and ensure the smooth transition for the collected information and the returnees themselves. The SwRC was responsible for meeting with the potential beneficiaries, identifying their needs, provide counselling and psychosocial support prior to departure, and then contacting the IRCS to follow up on them upon their arrival in Iraq.
Working in partnership
The Iraqi Returnees Project partnership model involves Swedish Red Cross, who provide psychological support and pre departure counselling to Iraqis who have voluntarily decided to return to Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescentreceives the Iraqi Returnees and provides psychological, material, as well reintegration support. The Federation facilitates communication and technical support. Coordination between IFRC and IRCS and SwRC was carried out regularly through tripartite meetings to share knowledge and info as well as to discuss specific cases and review programme guidelines. Through this partnership the IRCScapacities to provide psychosocial support to beneficiaries has been strengthen.
All asylum seekers who are registered with the respective immigration authority have received information about the project; Advice and support in the return process in Sweden, where possible return related country of origin informationwhich facilitate the reintegration process have been offered to all rejected asylum seekers. Return related information about general and specific conditions in countries of origin has been provided to asylum seekers. The human rights of returnees benefiting from reintegration assistance have been recognised in their respective country of origin, and the number of persons attaining self-reliance has increased. Support facilitating the reintegration process provided by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society where possible, been offered to rejected asylum seekers; Particularly vulnerable asylum seekers from Iraq have been offered enhanced support (assistance in the reintegration process during up to one year after return). Persons who have returned to Iraq have received follow-up visits to monitor conditions after return. The project has maintained a dialogue with relevant Swedish and other European actors, and has participated in meetings and seminars to exchange experiences; Cooperation with National Societies in Luxemburg, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Germany regarding return related country of origin information and reintegration assistance has been facilitated. Staff and volunteers working for the Swedish Red Cross are well informed about the return process and the tools and methods available to provide pre-departure support and reintegration assistance in cooperation with other components of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other relevant actors; Other relevant actors in Sweden are aware of the support provided by the Swedish Red Cross in the return process and fully understand our humanitarian mandate, in particular in relation to the Swedish Migration Board and the Police.
Beneficiaries and target group
The beneficiaries of the project are rejected asylum seekers who are obliged to return to their country of origin, irrespective of whether they comply with the obligation to return or are subject to enforced removal, and asylum seekers who have withdrawn the asylum application. This means that rejected asylum seekers who are subject to enforced removal, including persons who are kept in detention, may receive pre-departure support from the Swedish Red Cross within the framework of the project. Based on previous experience it is expected that the majority of beneficiaries will be rejected asylum seekers who comply with the obligation to return.
2- Target group
The target group of the project is staff and volunteers in the Swedish Red Cross and Iraqi Red Crescent Society who work with asylum seekers and returnees.