Following high-profile media reports about Iraqi interpreters whose lives are threatened because they worked for British forces, the British government announced on August 7 that it will review its policy of non-preferential treatment for Iraqi employees seeking refuge who are at risk or in exile. In April, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UK Refugee Council wrote to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, alerting him to the plight of Iraqi interpreters and to the wider Iraqi refugee crisis.
Since then, we have worked intensively to generate media coverage about British responsibility for its Iraqi employees. We published opinion pieces in major newspapers, including The Independent and The Sunday Times, urging the UK to admit Iraqi refugees, and contributed to several prominent articles, including a front-page story in The Times. After the article appeared, Prime Minister Gordon Brown personally intervened in the case. Our reporting has exposed the escalating Iraqi refugee crisis, and the challenges faced by Iraqis seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Going forward, we will urge the UK to begin admitting Iraqi refugees, particularly those who worked for the British in Iraq, grant asylum requests for Iraqis inside the UK, and increase financial assistance to the countries bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis in the Middle East.