Iraqi family rejected by Danish Refugee Appeal Board

The family Jaafar currently lives in an asylum center at the Danish island Bornholm. Soon this is due to change as they were rejected by the Danish Refugee Appeal Board. Now the Danish Authorities have given the family 7 days to leave Denmark voluntarily. The family refuses to sign the official deportation papers as they fear for their lives.

Alaa Jaafar is a professor of analytical chemistry and he was the leader of The Chemical Faculty at The University in Bagdad. On September 30, 2014 Alaa and his family decided to flee from Iraq as their lives were endangered due to his profession. That day they had an incident in the street, where a gun was held against Alaa’s head in front of his wife and children (Hussein and Haitham). With the gun they were told to leave the country. This particular incident was in detail explained with some small differences, (concerning the experience of the incident), by Alaa and his wife when questioned by the Board. These differences became the reason for the turn down of their asylum by the Danish Refugee Appeal Board. They found the couple to be untrustworthy. The decision was made despite the fact that the Iraqi Government has stated that it is not safe for university professors in Iraq. The official CEOSI list from Iraq, keeping a track of executed academics, also contains several of Alaa’s friends and colleagues. Doctors, teachers, engineers and scientific people like Alaa are targeted in Iraq. Further more Alaa and his family had been subject to harassment and death threats both by phone and text messages prior to the incident with the gun.

Since the family came to Denmark, Hussein (the oldest son) has been moved to a Danish school as he is a very talented and skilled student. Alaa has been teaching chemistry at the gymnasium and Tamathar (the wife of Alaa) has been helping out at the asylum center. They have been very keen and hard working to integrate into the Danish society. They have been given 7 days to leave Denmark voluntarily. If not they will be sent to a deportation center, where they might stay for years under highly criticizable conditions.

A petition has been made in favour of the Jaafar family to try to change the decision.

Please sign the petition here

The photos were taken approximately a month ago by Martin Thaulow, when he was commissioned by the Red Cross to portray Hussein. The article will be in the coming issue of the Red Cross Member's Magazine. Hussein's story about his talent bringing him to a Danish school and his family will be told.

Photos by Martin Thaulow, Copyright © Refugee.Today/Good people. Click the images in the photo series below to enlarge.