The Swedish Migration Board urges asylum seekers to lie to the Afghan Embassy that they want to return voluntarily

06:00 July 18 – 2017 Agneta Willung

Photo courtesty: Björn Olsson (gp)

Gothenburg. Ali Reza Shariati is one of the unaccompanied minors who will be deported to Afghanistan. At a meeting with the Immigration officer they urge him to lie to the Afghan embassy. – “If you don’t do it I will have to turn you over to the police instead” said the case officer.

GP and SVT Väst (Swedish Television Network) can today tell us about Ali Reza Shariati, who came to Sweden two years ago, and who now lives in Gothenburg and who was urged to lie by a case officer at The Swedish Migration Agency. At a recorded conversation who GP have hear (SVT ) and we can hear how he is being pressured to lie to the embassy of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

He has had his age written up by the Migration Agency and they have decided to deport him to Afghanistan, a country his family fled from when he was a baby. He says he does not know a single person in Afghanistan, and that his mother and siblings are in Iran.
This spring he filed a request for an impediment to enforcement against the expulsion order. This means that the Migration Agency cannot enforce the decision to deport him until the Migration Agency has decided the impediment to enforcement case.

-The police could take him and place him in a detention deportation center. And the planning of the deportation can continue despite the impediment of enforcement. This is what has happened in the case of Ali Reza says Nanna Töcksberg Zelano, voluntary lawyer when it comes to the file for impediment to enforcement and one of the private individuals who support Ali Reza.

Urged to visit the embassy
A couple of weeks ago, Ali Reza was called to the Migration Agency, where he was urged to go to the Afghan embassy in Stockholm and request travel documents. With him he received a letter who the Migration Agency had written in his name and which he was expected to sign. There is said that he had accepted the decision by the Migration Agency and that he assured that his return was voluntary.
Heidi Marquardt, another person who supports Ali Reza was present at the meeting and tells us:

– The woman who received the letter asked him: Do you really want to go to Afghanistan? No! Said Ali Reza, it is the Migration Agency which has decided this. Therefore, Ali Reza was not given any travel documents.

Was told to lie
The other day he called his case officer at The Swedish Migration Agency to ask what would happen next. The conversation was recorded and the GP newspaper has listened to the recording. Ali Reza starts by asking if the case officer had spoken to the voluntary lawyer and the case offices says yes. Ali Reza asks what he is to do now.
Case officer: We said that you must go to the embassy again if you want to make another try and you could go next week. Ali Reza: What should I tell them?
Case officer: Well, it is like this, you will have to tell them that you wish to return and that you want travel documents. You have been given this letter…

A: So, you mean that I must lie to them?

CO: Yes, in principle. This is the way it is: if you want to cooperate with the Migration Agency you must tell them that you must follow Swedish law, if you want to return voluntarily. You must explain to them that you have received this decision and that you don’t want to break the rules. I can understand that it is hard when you receive such a direct question, but you will simply have to say that you want to follow the rules that exist and if you have to, yes, then you want to. A: Okay. But you know that I really do not want to go to?

CO: I know that, I know that. But we must do it this way because if you don’t do it I must hand you over to the police instead and that is so unnecessary. It is better if you are smart and do it this way and then we will decide your case and we will know how it goes. But, off course I know that you do not want to go back. A: Okej. CO: But since we have to do with another country’s authority you sometimes have to be a little bit smart.
“It feels very strange”

GP (the Swedish newspaper) has listened to the recording together with Ali Reza Sharati. Afterwards he says: – It feels very strange. The Migration Agency has all the time told me that I must say the truth about my background, my age, about everything. But now they ask me to lie.

Heidi Marquardt is very critical towards the case officer’s incitements to Ali Reza. – Don one hand because he is being threatened with the police and on the other hand because the Migration agency use formulations about lying is a smart thing to do, she says.
The case officer denies it
When GP contacts the case officer of Ali Reza at the Migration Agency they ask if it is common for people who are going to be deported to not receive the travel documents at the embassy if they say they do not want to go to Afghanistan. – I would have to direct you to our press department, I cannot comment on individual cases. They have a better overview.

Regardless of this case you might have had any more boys who have been through the same thing? – I cannot give you any such answer. You must go through the official channels.

The boy with whom we have spoken to have, in a conversation with you over the phone, been instructed to lie to the embassy. – I would never instruct someone to do something like that, things don’t happen that way. But like I said, I cannot make a statement and I can’t help you any further, says the case officer.

GP newspaper have been in contact with Lena Johansson, the chief directive at the Migration Agency west, med Lena Johansson. She does not want to make a statement since she does not know about this case.

“Unfortunate if it should be interpreted like that”

Even though the Migration Agency headquarter have had the opportunity to comment what happened to Ali Reza Shariati we don’t get to talk to anyone in charge. But Linn Nilsson at the press service answers in a mail:
“The Migration Agency should not tell people to lie. It is not a behavior which the Agency stand for and it is unfortunate if it would be interpreted that way. If your asylum application has been rejected it is our duty to inform the person of what the process look like and what it means if you do not voluntarily return to your home country”.
She continues:

“If you lack travel documents we explain that a visit to the embassy is needed to get travel documents. If the applicant want to return voluntarily the applicant will receive a certificate which they may give to the embassy in order to get a travel document. According to our experience there are no troubles getting such documents if the applicant arrives to the embassy and say that their intention is to return voluntarily”, Linn Nilsson at the Migration Agency press service writes.

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Afghan minors in Sweden facing uncertain future!

Ahmad Rahimi is one of the many Afghan minors that entered Sweden in 2015. Like many other asylum seekers, Rahimi didn’t know much about Sweden either, but his dedication to help other fellow Afghans turned him to a hope for many. Only in a short period of time, Rahimi has been able to integrate in to the Swedish society and has been a huge help and support to thousands of minors that have set foot in Sweden.

Rahimi is also an active member of Afghan civil society groups fighting for the rights of Afghan asylum seekers in Sweden. He has also been admired and awarded at certain occasions. Rahimi and a group of activists in Sweden have also helped many of those who were forcibly deported back to Afghanistan.

Today, Rahimi is facing an uncertain future. His claim for asylum has been rejected and he can be forcibly deported to Afghanistan at anytime. He has been born and raised in Iran and have never been to Afghanistan, with no social and economic network and a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, there is no future waiting for him. He like many other young Afghans that have been deported back to Afghanistan in the past few years will face uncertainty and hopelessness, and the choice of re-migration would be the only option for him, as it has been for many we have been in contact with.

Rahimi’s belief and different way of thinking can also put his life in danger. Afghanistan is a religious society and those who do not believe in Islam or are non-believers have always been in trouble and targeted because of their beliefs. Therefore, deporting young Afghan asylum seekers like Rahimi back to Afghanistan will directly put their lives in danger. Firsly, due to the ongoing deteriorating security situation as the main cause of people fleeing the country. Secondly, Rahimi’s different thoughts about religion and his way of living can make him a clear target and put his life at risk.

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Arte Regards: Documentary on the situation of Afghan asylum seekers deported from Germany back to Afghanistan

Arte news agency recently produced a documentary about the situation of those recently deported from Germany to Afghanistan. AMASO’s work and the assistance we provide to those deported has also been documented in this documentary.

The documentary was filmed only few days before a deadly attack in West of Kabul, only few hundred meters from our office in Kabul. The attack killed more than 50 people, mostly civilians, and left scores of others injured. The video that was shot soon after the attack by the director of AMASO has also been made a part of this documentary.

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Heart patient deported from Denmark, fears for his life if drugs not found in Af.

By: Abdul Ghafoor

At least 13 Afghan asylum seekers were deported from Denmark to Afghanistan on 1st of March 2017. The actual number of asylum seekers deported can not be confirmed by AMASO, however those interviewed by AMASO confirm that some of those deported in the same charter plane were not let in by the Afghan authorities and were sent back to Denmark.

13, including Nasir Husseini were received by the Afghan authorities. Nasir entered Denmark in 2010 and was provided with a two years temporary resident permit based on humanitarian grounds. In 2015, after two years of expiring the term of the temporary resident permit, Nasir was once again rejected and was told to live the country and return back to Afghanistan. Nasir had a heart surgery in 2007 and is still under medication. The authorities in Denmark believed Nasir could return to Afghanistan and continue with his medication inside Afghanistan.

He has to take two types of drugs for the rest of his life. His life can be at risk if he is unable to find or afford to buy  the drugs. Nasir fears he may find one of the drugs but not the second one. He has been trying to find the second drug after return, but has failed so far.

Denmark returned 13 asylum seekers on the same day when Kabul witnessed one of the deadliest attacks this year. Twin bomb blasts hit two different locations of Kabul only hours after returnees had landed in Kabul. The first attacks was launched against the PD6 police station in the West of Kabul.  The explosion was followed by a gunbattle between security forces and several gunmen who stormed into the complex, said Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry. Those who lost their lives as a result of the attack later reached around 45 people, confirmed by one of the sources in the Ministry of Health.

The second attack took place in eastern Kabul where a suicide bomber on foot detonated his explosives outside the offices of the country’s intelligence service, killing one person. A total of 104 people were wounded in both attacks.

Text from the video

“My name is Nasir Hussaini. I have been deported from Denmark on March 1st, 2017. When I and other deportees landed in Kabul, Afghanistan. They wanted to take some 3 us back to Denmark. They took us out of the plane and told us to wait in a waiting room. The Afghan authorities said they will return 3 of us, two others who had left their families behind and I back to Denmark. They took 3 of us towards the plane. But we were once again told to be taken back for security check-up and then return back to the plane.

One of the police who was escorting us during the flight stepped out of the plane and went in for a meeting with one of the airport police at Kabul International Airport, the meeting went on for at least 25-30 minutes. When the Afghan police came out of the meeting, he started using inappropriate and abusive words towards us, and started telling that we did not have problem and we could live in our country.

We were then moved towards the returnee receiving center. Hours after our arrival, there was at least two suicide attacks which left 150 Afghans dead and injured. This is the security in Afghanistan! One of the suicide attacks took place here (pointing towards the location of the blast).

Also, I am ill, I had a heart surgery and one of the drugs I use can’t be found in Afghanistan. I have asked many drug stores but have not been able to find that particular drug. When I landed in Afghanistan, one of the policeman at the airport asked what my problem was. I said I had a heart surgery and am on medication. The police told me that one of the drugs cannot be found in Afghanistan, the Danish government is also aware of the fact that you may not be able to find one of the drugs, they have still deported you!

If I fail to find one of the drugs soon, then I don’t know how long I would be able to survive. I may not last longer than a month if I failed to find the drug. I will have to leave this world, i guess! ”

 

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Safe haven – lol !

By: Abdul Ghafoor

These are images from the office of Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization (AMASO), where people recently deported to the ‘safety’ of Kabul come to seek advice and reassurance. Ofcourse, this explosion was not the only one today. There was a second large attack on the NDS office in Arzan Qeemat, eastern Kabul. The casualties feared to have reached at least 15 killed and 50 wounded as the carnage continued for hours where the security forces are still busy sweeping the area.

Only moments before the blast, a 19 year old, deported from Norway on 7th of February, Enayatullah Sultani walked out of the office. Panicked and afraid that he had walked in to the blast, i called him. He was safe, but shaken and scared. Then i started calling some of the other new arrivals to check on them. So far, they are all safe, but this brutal introduction to a country they left between 1 to 7 years ago is terrifying them and justifying their fear for their safety and their resistance to removal.

At least 25 Afghan asylum seekers deported from Denmark also landed in Kabul earlier this morning. According to sources in Denmark, they were deported back to Afghanistan on a military plane.

The lack of security in Afghanistan, including Kabul, coupled with the impossibility for those without networks in finding jobs or accommodation drives most to leave again. Even knowing the risks they face, most calculated they have better chance outside Afghanistan.

For those without resources, the choice are stark. Join the Taliban or ISIS or the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and risk life in Afghanistan, or as we hear increasingly, head to Iran to join Afghan battalions fighting Assad’s war in the hope their death will benefit the family in a way they could not in life.

Inspite of the blasts today and out limited resources and staff, AMASO had to continue working. Since summer 2016 we have had a massive increase both in the number of people seeking out help and in the number of journalists investigating their stories. AMASO has a massive number of contacts who keep up sending demands. The demands place on AMASO reflects the absence of support for those returned, and a massive unmet need.

 

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Returnees in Kabul need your support

15672958_10154813416482973_7444582683167192613_nAfghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization has been involved in providing orientation and support to hundreds of those who have been forcibly deported to Afghanistan over the past 4 years. Currently, a wave of deportation from various countries such as Norway, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands and other EU countries have put the lives of returned Afghans, including families and children in limbo.

Most of the young boys who have recently been deported have no family or network in Afghanistan. They have nowhere to live after they leave their temporary accommodation. Anyone deported from Europe is allowed to stay at a returnee receiving center for 14 days. After 14 days they have to live on their own. Some of the returnees risk returning to families, relatives and friends even in dangerous provinces. Most flee the country as soon as they can. For some, there is no way out and nowhere to live after they finish their time in the reception center.

AMASO is looking to start a safe house for those young boys who have nowhere to go until they are able to find a solution to their problem after return.

The support you give will be used:

. Safe house (will allow young returnees to stay in the house temporarily)

. Advice and orientation to returnees (connecting to support group, lawyer, other advice)

. Media campaigns and documentation

Some important links that will give you an idea of AMASO’s involvement in supporting returnees in Kabul.

The Guardian, New York Times, VG (Norwegian), Dagbladet (Norwegian), The Guardian,

Reuters 

How to help

Those in Norway can donate either through VIPPS or Bank transfer

Vipps: 98649507

Account number: 3930.01.71013

Those outside Norway can donate Via PayPal

paypal.me/AMASOKabul

The account is registered with the name Ask, for (Refugees Welcome Afghan lives Matter) group in Norway. The donation then will be transferred to AMASO through the group.

Follow Abdul on social media for more updates

Facebook

Twitter

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Afghan family recently deported from Norway, narrowly escape Kabul suicide attack

By: Abdul Ghafoor

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Ali Reza, the older son of the family standing outside the Mosque moments after the suicide attack carried out inside the Mosque.

Kabul was once again rocked by a suicide bomber that blew himself among the mourners mainly from the Hazara Shi’ite minority to commemorate the 40th of Muharam, the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and Shia martyr.Witnesses suggest the attack was carried out by a man who had posed as a beggar entering on foot.  The suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the hall full of mourners at around 12:27 Kabul time.

Witnesses claim at least 27 people were killed as a result of the blast and 35 others were injured.The deceased include people of all ages, including small children. The exact number of casualties is yet to be confirmed.

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Among all the victims was the Farhadi family, who were deported from Norway less than one month ago. The family was close to the site of the blast, intending to join the processions when the blast took place. Fortunately their injuries are minor. The youngest child, 2 years old, who fell from his mother’s arms the moment the blast occurred, has minor injuries on his face and bleeding from one of his ears.

In a conversation with the family earlier, the family confirmed that they escaped with minor injuries, but the children and the mother are in a state of trauma and shock as a result of the suicide attack.

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Norwegian Minister’s Cruel and Inhumane treatment of Afghan children

By: Abdul Ghafoor

The Norwegian Integration Minster Sylvi Listhaug , recently responded through a Facebook post, dated 14th November with delight rather than shame to the 12 November New York Times article, pointing out Norway’s increasingly harsh treatment of Afghan refugees. The Minister crowed that the NYT would send ‘an important signal…to the whole world’ that those whose claims are rejected would be deported and that Norway has world’s strictest return policy.

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Translation of the text ” This is an important signal reaching out to the whole world through New York Times. The pressure on forced deportations and the change in direction on Norwegian asylum politics under the Progress Party and this government, is being noticed. That is good! The time for talk is over – now, what counts is action *thumbs up*. we will lead a strict policy, meaning that those who gets a rejection, is going out. Either voluntarily, or by force! Like and share if you agree!”

Those deported include families (some without fathers) with small children, who are being returned to a city they do not know and a culture with which they are not familiar. But more importantly they are being returned to Kabul at a time when anti-government attacks are increasing. One family, the Mousavi family had sought shelter in Karte Sakhi shortly after their return mid-August. Unable to return to their home province, they were still in Karte Sakhi three months later on 11th October gunmen attacked Shrine close to where the family is currently living and killed 14 people, injuring at least 36 others. The family cowered, terrified of the flying bullets as government forces fought with the attackers.

Basharpal family

The Basharpal family, frightened and hiding moments after the attack was carried out on Care organisation, close to the hotel. 

Another family, Mirwais Basharpal also recently returned from Norway were staying in the hotel in Shar E Naw (provided by the Norwegian government, which has taken on itself the right to prohibit visitors) when the nearby Care organisation was attacked by a suicide bomber on 6th of September – blowing out the windows of the hotel the returnees are accommodate and showering the children with broken glass.

 

None of these events has caused the inappropriately named Integration Minister to question her policy or position. Norway rejects more Afghan claims than any other EU state – it is not logical or reasonable to assume that Afghans who arrive in Norway are less entitled to protection than those who claim elsewhere. Clearly some of those who are returned are at risk – even Norway accepts this, but argues that there are safe internal relocation alternatives, such as Kabul.

No Sylvi, those families, children and adults you are deporting to Afghanistan are not living in safety in Kabul or any of other provinces considered safe! Children deported live in trauma and fear and aren’t able to integrate into a society they have hardly been part of. Children deported to Afghanistan talk about their school mates, their football mates and the life in Norway. Why wouldn’t they? They are children at the end of the day. They hardly understand what your inhumane policy is doing to them or their future.

Since at least 2014, Kabul cannot be considered safe. The following is a list of the largest attacks in 2016 (there are far more attacks with lower fatalities):

 

January

1 January: the Taliban exploded a bomb and engaged in a firefight at a restaurant in Kabul, leading to the death of a child and wounding 15 others.

4 January: a bomb-filled truck exploded at a facility for workers in Kabul, killing one civilian and injuring another 22 civilians.

20 January: a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying media personnel in Kabul on 20 January, killing seven people and wounding more than 20;

February

1 February: A police facility in Kabul was struck by a suicide bomber on, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 police officers,

27 February: 15 people killed

 April

15 April: multiple coordinated attacks across Kabul, including Presidential Palace

19 April: 64 people killed in attack at Pul-e-Mahmud, Kabul 

May

25 May: 11 people killed during morning rush hour in Kabul 

June

20 June: 14 people killed in central Kabul

30 June: 27 police cadets killed, more than 40 wounded

July

23 July: 80+ killed and at least 230 injured during peaceful demonstration by Hazaras protesting discrimination

August

16 killed, 50+ wounded in attack on American University campus, Darulaman, Kabul

September

5 attacks in 24 hours (5-6 September): Monday – 41 people killed, 103 others were wounded in one attack

October

5 October: 20 wounded in a suicide attack in Kabul

11 October: Gunmen attack on a shrine killing 14 and injuring around 36 others

19 October: Gunmen kills 2 American soldiers, injures 3 advisers

November

12 November: Suicide attack on Bagram airbase killing 4 American soldiers and injuring 16 other US and International forces

16 November: Suicide attacks killed 4 security personal and injured another 11 in the heart of Kabul 

Abdul Ghafoor is a refugee rights activist and director at Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organisation. follow on twitter https://twitter.com/ghafoorazad

 

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Afghan refugees in Europe ” Stop Deportation to Afghanistan” , ” Afghanistan is not safe”

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By: Abdul Ghafoor

Thousands of Afghan refugees marched on different cities across Europe to share their concerns about the recent deal between Afghanistan and EU, and to oppose forced deportation to Afghanistan. Demonstrations were called for 22nd October, in different cities of Germany and Sweden, the two major countries with highest number of Afghans that sought asylum in 2015.

Demonstrations were held in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo and other smaller cities of Sweden, where hundreds of Afghan refugees gathered to oppose deportation to Afghanistan.  Thousands more gathered in different part of Germany on the same day to protest against the deal and oppose forced expulsion to Afghanistan. Hamburg, Dusserdolf and many other smaller cities.

According to figures released by European Asylum Support Office “– 190 013 Afghans applied for international protection in EU+ countries in 2015″. According to the same data provided by EASO 70% of the refugees applied for asylum in Hungary, Sweden, Germany and Austria.

EU and Afghanistan signed a deal last month that will allow EU to deport thousands of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan. The demonstrators fear their lives will be in danger if they are returned under the deal. They claim, Afghanistan is already in chaos with at least 1.5 million IDPs and thousands of more being deported from neighboring countries on daily basis. The demonstrators were holding placards and chanting ” Stop Deportation to Afghanistan” and ” Afghanistan IS Not Safe”.

With the outreach of Taliban in most of the provinces of Afghanistan and the existence and expansion of ISIS as a fresh threat, security is the first concern for most of those who fear deportations under the deal, also known as ” Joint Way Forward”. Recent attacks on minority Hazaras and the kidnappings on the highways connecting to central Afghanistan is also what not many people and media have talked about, but the Afghan refugees in EU are well aware of those threats if they are returned.

Pictures from demonstration in Germany

Pictures from demonstration in Sweden

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Afghan civil society activists demand “stop implementing the Joint Way Forward deal”

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By: Abdul Ghafoor

Afghan civil society activists and a number of families and adults who were recently deported from various European countries held a press conference in Kabul today, to share their concerns about the deal that was recently signed between the Afghan government and the EU. The deal, if implemented, will allow the EU to deport thousands of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan.

The activists called on both the EU and Afghan government to stop implementing the deal. They said:

‘Afghanistan is already struggling to provide basic needs to millions of returnees and deportees from neighboring countries. There is at least 1.3 million Internally Displaced Persons in Afghanistan, who have left their villages and provinces due to insurgent attacks and deteriorating security situation. Tens of thousands have fled Kunduz, Helmand, Baghlan in recent weeks. Most of those internally displaced are living in open air with no proper shelter, accommodation or food’.

Abdul Ghafoor, director at Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization said ‘most of those who were forcibly returned from various European countries including UK, Norway and other Scandinavian countries in the past couple of years have already re-migrated, unable to remain in Afghanistan’. He continued ‘faced with so many challenges, Afghanistan cannot manage this large number of returnees’. Faced with destitution here, the only option these returnees have is to leave the country and take the dangerous journey again.

Afghan Civil Society also emphasized on stopping deportation from Germany which is planned by the end of this month. Rumors suggest Germany is planning to deport the at least 50 Afghan refugees on 27th of October through a charter flight. The charter plane is planned at a time, where none of the points mentioned in the deal have been implemented yet. The deportation, if implemented will create a chaos for both the returnees and the Afghan government.

Press statement

“Joint way forward” the EU and Afghanistan deal on return of Afghan national from the EU

Afghan migration is once again at the top of the political agenda. It has been a hot topic for many decades now. Over decades millions of Afghans have had to flee various conflicts. Today Afghans make up the second largest refugee population in Europe after Syria. Alone in 2015, 196,170 sought asylum in Europe.

Those who have fled Afghanistan recently include unaccompanied Afghan youth (the largest national group in Europe), families and other vulnerable groups of people. Seeking safety, work to allow them to survive, and hope for their future, they risk a dangerous journey to reach Europe. Many families have lost their loved ones en route. Whole families were drowned, and young boys have been beaten, sexually assaulted, tear gassed, robbed and shot crossing Iranian, Turkish and European borders. There were many Afghans among the 4,000 people who drowned last year in the Mediterranean Sea, and the 3,000+ who have died so far this year.

In spite of all these risks, many Afghans reached Europe, especially Germany where at first they were welcome. However, other countries failed to show the same generosity as Mrs Merkel, and so Germany received almost all the Afghans coming in the last year, plus many, many Syrians. Last month, angry that they alone were sheltering refugees, Germans punished Mrs Merkel in the German elections. Under pressure from other European states and her own party and government, Mrs Merkel called President Ghani personally last week and told him to sign.

Afraid that aid to Afghanistan would be cut, in spite of strong opposition from the Minister of Refugees, the Afghan parliament agreed to accept the deal on Sunday and it was signed that night by deputy Minister for Refugees, Dr Alema. Now, any Afghan whose case is not accepted will be quickly returned back to Afghanistan under a joint agreement between Afghanistan and EU called “Joint way forward”.

We at civil society have gathered today to share our concerns regarding this deal that will put lives of thousands of people at stake.

  1. The deal has been processed in an un-democratic way by the EU. The agreement was not submitted for scrutiny to the parliament of the European Union or any European state. Refugee rights organizations, supporters and defenders had no chance to argue against it.
  1. We have concerns Afghanistan is being used as a test case, and this policy will be used against refugees across the world.
  1. Afghanistan is already struggling to deal with hundreds of thousands of people returning from the neighboring countries. The government and international agencies are struggling to provide them with basic needs such as shelter and food. There is no infrastructure in place that would guarantee they will have a place to stay and job to survive. On the other hand there are at least 1.3 million IDPs currently in different part of Afghanistan, most of whom due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.
  1. Frontex will be responsible for managing the returns. Based on our experience and the accounts of the returnees met over the past several years, Frontex have been mistreating returnees during deportation process. Our concern is that deporting large number of refugees will be a massive challenge and hiring new employees for Frontex without proper training can put the safety of returnees at risk.
  1. In another part of the deal it has been mentioned that EU will support Afghanistan in creating job opportunities for the returnees. This is not the first time such promises have been made and yet there has been very little effect on the lives of the returnees. With unemployment for the general population so high, how can the problem of returnees be solved with poor and short-term employment programs. This sort of small packages wouldn’t be enough for migrants who have spent thousands of dollars to reach one of the European countries. As a result, the only option for the returnees would be to re-migrate.
  1. Finally, recent studies such as “ After Return “ (RSN 2016), “what happens post-deportation” (Schuster & Majidi 2013, 2014) demonstrate that deportation to Afghanistan up to now has been a failure. A large number of those who have been returned over the past several years have already re-migrated, they are either in the neighboring countries, Iran or Pakistan, or further in to Turkey or another European country.

We believe this is not a good time for a deal like the “Joint Way Forward “. 24 hours after the deal was signed, Kunduz fell to the Taliban. It is clear the security situation is deteriorating and it will create more chaos and challenges for both the Afghan government and the EU once thousands of people are deported to Afghanistan with no basic infrastructure and livelihood in place.

Currently, Kunduz, Helmand, Farah, Uruzgan, Zabul, Baghlan, Faryab and many other provinces are facing insurgent attacks which clearly indicates volatile security situation of Afghanistan. We believe the government doesn’t have any sort of preparation to be able to accommodate a high number of returnees from Europe, amidst deteriorating security situation in the country. Choosing such a deal at this time is clearly not an ideal solution for both the returnees and the government. It will only create more problems and chaos for the both the returnees and the Afghan government.

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