More Iraqis leave voluntarily

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Three of four Iraqi refugees who lost their asylum bids in Norway have returned to their homeland voluntarily during the past year, report Norwegian officials in charge of immigration issues.

Of the 288 Iraqis whose asylum applications were turned down, 215 have agreed to go home since June 1 of last year. That’s when a new program went into effect that offers rejected refugees financial support to help them get a new start back in Iraq, through the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

By the end of last week, another 29 Iraqis has agreed to leave Norway, bringing the total of completed or pending departures up to around 500, reported news bureau NTB.

While 30 Iraqis were forcibly returned to Iraq with police escorts in January, all of them either convicted criminals or those who had lost all appeals of their rejected asylum applications, Iraq now tops the statistics for countries to which refugees in Norway return. Overall asylum applications in Norway, meanwhile, have declined from record highs in 2007 and 2008.

Views and News staff