When a nation goes to War, not only does it display its might by way of brute force, but it also takes on responsibilities.
Responsibilities to those who fight in its name, responsibilities to those it conquers, and responsibilities to those who work for the forces whilst they are in the field, and when they leave.
It seems that the UK government is prepared to ignore all of those responsibilities.
The immediate responsibility as we prepare to withdraw from Iraq, is to those men and their families who have worked in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, to interpret for our troops, to ensure that our orders and requests are clearly understood by the population, and the voices of those same people are interpreted so that we do not inadvertently commit outrages through misunderstanding.
These people who have put their lives on the line for us, who believed in us and our mission, but had the misfortune to believe our government, are seen as collaborators by those who oppose our being there. Not only the interpreters themselves, but their families, wives, children, brothers and sisters are all in the firing line of the militias.
The UK government has reneged on that responsibility. It is happy to open the immigration doors to millions of people who want a better life, to migrants from around the globe. It is happy to plead for the release of terror suspects held in Guantanamo Bay who are not even British, but it seems it is not happy to protect the lives of those who have served us.
As with the Gurkhas who have served this country for the past 100 years, the Iraqi interpreters are told that they do not have strong enough ties to this country and are abandoned to whatever fate may befall them. We ask what tie could be stronger than ones life, and the willingness to fight for this country. Something that more than most of our politicians are prepared to do.
Following on from the Danish government who granted asylum to its interpreters when they pulled their troops out of Iraq last month, it is now time for the UK government to show its responsibilities and ensure the well being and safety of these brave people. Grant the interpreters and any other employees and their families asylum in the UK.
The campaign has a petition on the No.10 site http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Iraqi-Employees/
Please sign the petition and then write directly to your MP (You can use the excellent website ‘Write to Them‘ or post a letter yourself.), please add more pressure to our politicians to fulfil at least one promise in their lives.
Please be courteous when writing to your MP. It would be a good idea
to read the reports above, and cite relevant facts. We would suggest
that your letter could contain the following points:
- It is morally unacceptable that Britain should abandon people who
are at risk because they worked for British soldiers and diplomats.
- This country will be shamed if any more Iraqis are murdered for the ‘crime’ of having supported UK forces.
- Iraqis who worked for British forces should not be told to leave
Iraq and throw themselves on the mercy of United Nations relief
agencies in Arab countries: these agencies are already being
overwhelmed by the outflow of Iraqi refugees, and Iraqi refugees who
have worked for British diplomats or troops may well be targeted by
- There is plentiful evidence that armed groups in Iraq kill the
families of those they consider ‘enemies’: for this reason we must
extend the right of asylum to the families of those who worked for us.
- It is entirely practical for this country’s troops in Iraq, and its
embassies in neighbouring countries, to take in Iraqis who have worked
for us and fly them to the UK. Indeed, there is already considerable
anger among British servicemen that Iraqis are being abandoned in this
- This country is large enough and rich enough to accommodate several
thousand Iraqi refugees. Denmark has already given asylum to all 200
Iraqis who worked for its smaller occupying force.
- It does not matter what your MP’s views (or what your views) are on
the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. People who risked their
lives for this country’s soldiers are now being abandoned by the
British Government. Their lives can and must be saved by their being
granted the right of asylum in this country.
- This policy should be implemented regardless of whether British
soldiers stay in Iraq or are soon withdrawn. But it must be introduced
soon: applications for asylum cannot be processed in a lengthy fashion,
as the security situation in Basra is deteriorating rapidly, and delay
is likely to lead to further killings of Iraqis who worked for British
To see comments and responses from MP's so far, see
We cannot leave them behind.
p.s. Perhaps the Army could bring them back under protective custody, or form a charity, and invite them to the UK as guests of the people, not the government, but the people. (socialism in action eh) but once here, they could then apply for asylum.