Afghan minister for refugees and repatriation warns against force returns

Prepared by: Liza Schuster and Abdul Ghafoor

Meeting with Mr Ghulam Mortaza Rassouli. He is Head of the Returnee Department in the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation.

present: Abdul Ghafoor, Liza Schuster, Zia Afif

Today in the morning we met Mr Rasooli in his office in the Ministry. He confirmed that a number of Afghans who had been sent back to Afghanistan in the last couple of weeks had not been accepted at the airport and were returned to the removing countries (Netherlands, Norway). Mr Rassouli said that they had not been allowed to disembark because their removal to Afghanistan was in breech of the current Memorandum of Understanding between the deporting countries and Afghanistan, because for example they were ill or woman without any support in Afghanistan.

Meeting with Minister for Refugees and repatriation Mr. Hossein Alami Balkhi.

Present: Eva Joly, Liza Schuster, Abdul Ghafoor and Zia Afif

In the after we met the Afghan minister for refugees and repatriation. The Minister received us in his office, and in response to a request for clarification about the current situation explained that he had sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be forwarded to those European countries with whom Afghanistan has MoUs enabling the forced removal of Afghan citizens to Afghanistan. The letter has not yet been sent to the partner countries: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently studying it and will discuss it with the Minister for Refugees and Repatriation before sending it to those countries.



In this letter, Minister Balkhi explains that currently these countries are breeching the terms of the MoUs by deporting women and children, as well as those who cannot be returned to their provinces of origin. The minister repeated that it was not reasonable to expect Kabul to be able to receive all those who are forcibly returned (especially when they are from other provinces, and or have been born outside Afghanistan).

The Minister also made the point that the security situation in Afghanistan is not stable. He noted that the Foreign forces had handed over responsibility to the Afghan Security Forces, who are under enormous pressure dealing with the insurgents. He noted that there has been a significant deterioration in security in the past few years since these MoUs were signed, commenting that currently 80% of the country is insecure and unsafe.


Minister Balkhi explained that he had asked all European governments and the Australian government to suspend deportations until the MoUs are renegotiated to reflect the current situation in Afghanistan, and assurances have been received that the new MoUs will be respected. He expressed concern for the immediate future as he is worried that the security situation may get worse before it gets better, in particular as the insurgents are likely to increase attacks substantially as the weather improves.

Before leaving, Mr Balkhi asked the four people present to please use their contacts to pressurize the Norwegian government to stop a charter flight due on 15th March and another from UK. He was particularly keen that Ms Joly take his message to the European Parliament.

To be clear: the Minister is of the opinion that no further deportations should take place until the MoUs have been revised and further decisions are made. The terms of the current MoUs will be strictly adhered to in the meantime – unaccompanied women and children, those with mental and physical problems, those who are particularly vulnerable and those who come from dangerous provinces will definitely not be allowed to disembark at Kabul airport.

Zia Afif: is a social worker from Kent in the UK who support Afghan asylum seekers.

Eva Joly: Is member of the European parliament and chair LIBE, committee for migrants rights in Europe

About Abdul Ghafoor

Abdul Ghafoor is a refugee rights activist and blogger stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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4 Responses to Afghan minister for refugees and repatriation warns against force returns

  1. Habib says:

    Hi my name is Habib Roish and I am writing on behalf of my brother inlow Reza maghsoudi who is curuntly at the Perimeter road south, london gatwick airport, gatwick RH6 0PQ facing deportation on Tuesday the 10th of March . He is from hazara athnicity but was born in Iran , he has never been to Afghanistan before and has no relative in Afghanistan , the UK border agancey forcely wants to send him back dispite the curunt situation of Hazara people in Afghanistan ! He is really worried about his situation in Afghanistan , perhaps you know that these days hazara people can not traval from one city to other city ,2 weeks ago 31 hazara was detained by Taliban on thier way from Herat to Ghazni and they never been return back to thier family’s yet , yesterday 9 more people were cuptured by Taliban on thier way from Jaghori to Ghazni Provence , please if there is anything that you can do about it to stop his deportation it would be the kindest job you have ever done in your life . Thanks

    • Abdul Ghafoor says:

      Dear Habib

      We all know the situation in Afghanistan is not very safe for anyone at the moment. Even the refugee minister himself agrees with this that Afghanistan is not safe and people should be returned back to Afghanistan. We are doing our best to stop the deportation and you all should do whatever you can do stop it.

  2. Sabah says:

    Hi I’m writing on behalf of my boyfriend I really want from Afghan government to not expect deportees from UK they were also trying send my boyfriend forcibly to Kabul that he’s spend he’s most of his life here in UK he dosn’t know anything about Afghanistan please UKBA Let them live here those who grow here in UK because country situation is getting worst day by day even I met 1 of my friend recently she returns from Kabul and she said when you leave home for shopping No 1 believe that person will return home or killed.
    How can some one live there for rest of their life if you don’t believe your self to be return home back or not.
    Once again I request from Afghan government and from Afghan Border police in Airport to Not expect them if UKBA send them back kabul.


  3. Pingback: Menekültek a balkáni útvonalon. Kérdések és válaszok – Adevărul blog | EuroCom - Romániai Sajtófigyelő

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