Some Iraqis frustrated by the asylum process in Germany have given up, voluntarily returning to Iraq. Katie Sargent reports.
Frustrated, some Iraqi refugees quit Germany
It’s not yet a flood but a steady stream of Iraqi asylum seekers in Germany are going home.
Frustrated by the protracted asylum process and miserable conditions at shelters, they’ve decided they’re better off returning to their war-torn country.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PASSENGER LEITH KHDEIR ABBAS, SAYING:
“When I return to Baghdad, I will kneel down and kiss the earth.”
Long lines like these at the Office for Health and Social Affairs where the migrants were required to register contributed to the frustration.
Almost 3,000 Iraqis applied for asylum in Germany last year.
Germany says the number of them choosing to return began climbing in September.
Now Iraqi Airways offers three flights per week — including this one from Berlin.
Many of the passengers are travelling on one-way travel documents, issued after they either lost or destroyed their old passports.
Arriving in Erbil, the weariness of the roundtrip journey shows.
(SOUNDBITE) Kurdish) UNIDENTIFIED KURDISH WOMAN, SAYING:
“I regret going there. I wish we had not. I wish we had drowned in the sea and we had never gone there.”
Both Erbil, in the northern Kurdish autonomous region, and Baghdad are outside the territory under Islamic State control and have not seen heavy conflict, but bomb attacks occur regularly in Baghdad.
But these disenchanted Iraqis would rather build their future in their old home, than in a new one that did not live up to their dreams.