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Ongoing concern for Tamil workers in Kurdistan, KRG denies forced labour

Families of Tamil workers in Kurdistan continued to express concern over the welfare of the men, who the families say are being held against their will and forced to work for Kurdish forces in the fight against Islamic State militants.

The families, many of whom reside in Pallaisuddi, Jaffna, have named 28 workers who they say remain in detention, and have been forced to carry out military activities, including the building of bunkers and fortifications and the unloading of arms.

“My son and many others are still in Kurdistan. They were not sent back with the other men, as the government claims," the mother of one of the men told Tamil Guardian, speaking anonymously for fear of her son's safety.

"He was beaten and hospitalised when he initially resisted. If they were well looked after as they claim, how does the government explain his injuries?” she added, stating that the men have only been in touch sporadically, calling in secret as they feared being beaten.

The Kurdistan Regional Government however denied reports that Tamils were forced to work for or in support of the military.

"No one was forced to do any work for or in support of the military,” the KRG told Tamil Guardian in an email on Friday.

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