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UN Concerned Japan's Deportation Of Turkish Kurds


UN Refugee Agency Voices Concern Over Japan’s Deportation Of Turkish Kurds

The United Nations refugee agency has voiced its deep concern at Japan’s “unprecedented” decision to deport a Turkish Kurd and his adult son to Turkey even though they had been recognized as refugees, after the agency had warned the move would breach international law.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a letter sent Tuesday to the Japanese Justice Ministry such a move was an act of “refoulement” – or the forcible return of a person to a territory where their life or freedom is threatened – which is prohibited under international refugee law.

The move “contrasts with Japan’s humanitarian assistance towards refugees and disaster victims abroad,” UNHCR said in a subsequent statement issued from its headquarters in Geneva.

The man and his 20-year-old were deported after exhausting all legal avenues to stay in Japan. UNHCR had recognized the two as refugees and is now examining how it can re-settle them in a third country. The man’s wife and his three other children are now also facing the threat of deportation from Japan.

UNHCR said it was especially disturbed given that in the past Japan has tried to seek what it called “durable solutions” for refugees in similar circumstances, such as local integration or third-country re-settlement.

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