War-torn Afghanistan ‘no place’ for refugees ‘to be returned to’ — report

afghan_girls_norwayrefcounc-11d

BISHKEK (TCA) — A new report launched on January 24 by the Norwegian Refugee Council says that seven out of ten Afghan refugees who return home are forced to flee again due to violence.

“The findings of our report should make European nations and Afghanistan’s neighbours freeze deportations and rethink their policies. Now is not the time to deport Afghans. War-torn Afghanistan today is no place to be returned to. Decision-makers are likely to regret the massive involuntary returns at a time when conditions worsen all over Afghanistan. It can destabilise the whole region and lead to immeasurable suffering among families deported,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Secretary General Jan Egeland.

72 per cent, or seven out of ten of the people surveyed who have returned back to Afghanistan after living as refugees abroad have been displaced twice, many have been displaced three times, according to the new report by NRC and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

Despite Afghanistan being reclassified from ‘post conflict’ to ‘active conflict’ by the United Nations in 2017, asylum acceptance rates for Afghans in neighbouring and European countries have declined sharply over the past two years.

The study reveals that three quarters of families forced to flee their homes are not receiving any aid assistance. One in two are highly food insecure – often skipping meals and reducing food intake. Trapped in an endemic cycle of poverty, 80 per cent of internally displaced families NRC surveyed report taking on high levels of debt. Almost 20 per cent sent at least one child out to work.

More than 1 million Afghans have been newly displaced by conflict in the past two years alone – a threefold increase in less than five years. In 2017, on average, 1,200 Afghans were forced to flee every single day.

Sergey Kwan

TCA