HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Iran has deported at least 1,000 Afghan refugee children into western Herat and southwestern Nimroz provinces in the past two months, local officials said Monday.
The children were deported through the Islam Qala border crossing in Herat and via the border of Nimroz with Iran, said the officials.
Herat Labor and Social Affairs Director Abdul Qayoum Afghan told Pajhwok Afghan News the deported Afghan children included a young girl.
Afghan called as worrisome the expelling of some 1,000 children from neighboring Iran into western Afghanistan, saying these children had been haplessly roaming in Islam Qala and Nimroz crossing points over the past two months despite being vulnerable to many threats.
He said many of the expelled children had gone to Iran for work. “The deported children include some of those whose families are living in Iran. The children were collected from streets in Iran and then deported to Afghanistan.”
He said the deportation process was underway and was likely to accelerate in the next few days.
He asked the Iranian and the Afghan governments to stop forced expulsion of children from the country.
On the other hand, Abdul Qader Rahimi, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) head for Herat, put the number of the deportees higher than what Abdul Qayoum Afghan mentioned.
He said 30 to 50 children were daily deported via Islam Qala and Nimroz crossing points.
He said most of the deportees belonged to far-away provinces in the east and south and they lacked resources to transfer the children to their own areas.
He said organizations working for children’s rights couldn’t cope with the issue. “About 30 to 50 children are averagely expelled by Iran on a daily basis.”
The provincial government also expressed concern over the deportation of children, asking the Iranian authorities to stop the process.
Jilani Farhad, the governor’s spokesman, said: “The deportation of children and unsupervised women is a matter of concern.”
“We have always demanded serious steps to end deportation of children without families by Iran keeping in view the cordial relations between the two countries.”
AIHRC Herat chapter says besides expulsion, the children faced many other issues on their way from Iran to Afghanistan as they were tortured by traffickers and forced to walk hundreds of kilometers on foot.