Monday, 4 May 2009

Iraqi interpreters: another betrayal by the Government

We have seen how the Labour Government tried to renege on its moral obligations towards the Gurkhas; now it's the turn of the Army's Iraqi interpreters to be betrayed and cast aside.

The Government is about to abandon to the vengence of the militias those Iraqis who risked their lives, and the lives of their families, working for Britain's Armed Forces in Iraq. Foreign Secretary David Miliband has just called an abrupt end to the "Assistance Scheme" which ostensibly offers a resettlement package to qualifying Iraqis. The trouble is that, just like for the Gurkhas, the entitlement criteria of the Scheme have been contrived to be as deliberately restrictive as possible and only a small minority of those people who gave vital assistance to our troops will be eligible.

"I think it's a scandal - a dereliction of duty," said Daniel Leader, from law firm Leigh Day, which has been representing former translators appealing to be let into the country.

The Labour Government has for years been letting countless thousands of bogus asylum seekers into this country without any questions asked. Now, when there is a legitimate case for granting asylum, they slam the door. Britain has a moral obligation to help anyone who is in danger because they worked for our Armed Forces.

You can be sure that those Afghans serving as interpreters in Helmand will be looking over their shoulders at how their Iraqi counterparts are being treated and will be having second thoughts on whether it's such a good idea to continue to assist British forces against the Taliban.

How much more dishonour can this Labour Government bring on our country?

The Times: Government to close lifeline for Iraqi interpreters in two weeks
BBC: Iraqi interpreters 'still at risk'