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UN chief asked to help forcibly deported Afghan refugees

5 Nov 2023 - 18:14
5 Nov 2023 - 18:14

KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of former Afghan and UN officials have asked United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to urgently intervene and help 1.5 million Afghan refugees inhumanely treated in Pakistan and forcibly deported.

In an open letter, the former officials, including former ministers and lawmakers, said Afghans had been sufferingfromconflict,politicalinstability,andeconomicchallengesforseveraldecades.

“In the wake of these adversities, millions of Afghans sought refuge in neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Iran, in search of safety and security.”

Overtheyears,Pakistan has hosted a significant number of Afghan refugees, with the help of the UN, providing them with shelter, education, and healthcare.

However, they said, recent decision by the Pakistani government to forcibly expel Afghan refugees was causing immense suffering and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

By violating the Refugee Convention, the forced expulsion of refugees by the government of Pakistan has also led to a multitude of human rights violations of Afghan refugees, including arbitrary detention, forced deportations, separation of families, and denial of access to essential services, they wrote.

“Many of these refugees have established their lives in Pakistan, with children born and raised there, yet they are now being uprooted from their homes and forced to return to a country still grappling with aftermath of conflict, instability and economic hardship.”

“This method of expulsion will leave many Afghans without shelter, disrupt their education and leave thousands without the necessary healthcare services. This abrupt displacement not only undermines their basic human rights but also exposes them to the risk of violence, and pover ty upon their return to Afghanistan, particularly at this time as harsh winter is approaching in matter of weeks”.

Furthermore, the expulsion of Afghan refugees has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups, such as women, children, and persons with disabilities. These individuals face increased vulnerabilities and are often left without adequate protection and support, making them easy targets for exploitation and abuse.

The signatories include Abdul Jabar Naeemi former governor, Sayed Aqam former UN Resident Coordinator and VP Islamic Dev. Bank Group, Lal Gul Lal,  Executive Director, Afghanistan Human Rights Organization AHRO, Aziz Ahmadzai, former UNDP advisor / Ops Director High Peace Council, Afghanistan

Farid Zarif – Former UN SRSG, Kosovo, Shah Mahmood Miakhail, – Former Minister of Defense, Afghanistan Shinkai Karokhail – Former member of Parliament, Afghanistan Golalai Noor Safi – Former Senator, Afghanistan, Habibullah Qaderi, former Minister of Transportation,  Ehsan Zia, former Minister of Rural Development, Mohammad Asif Rahimi, former Minister of Agriculture

Mohammad Qasim Halimi, former Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs,  Gulalai Achakzai, former Commissioner of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission AIHRC, Hawa Alam Nuristani, former head of Independent Election Commission, Habib Rahman Nang–Ex Chief Electoral Officer, Asila Wardak, Women’s Forum on Afghanistan and Khan Wali Adeel, women’s activist

They strongly condemned the forced expulsion of Afghan refugees by the government of Pakistan and called for an immediate halt to these forced deportations.

They asked the UN to work with the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to negotiate a just and humane solution for the Afghan refugees, ensuring their safety, dignity, and well-being.

They appealed for provision of necessary humanitarian aid and support to Afghanistan to assist in the rehabilitation and reintegration of returning Afghan refugees.

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