Children deported back to Afghanistan: The most vulnerable group of deportees

 

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By: Abdul Ghafoor

Masoud and his parents were deported to Afghanistan only few hours before he could celebrate his 7th Birthday. All the preparations were in place to celebrate his Birthday at a play land the coming day. Unlucky for Masoud he and the family were arrested in the middle of the night and transferred to deportation center (Trandum) before deporting back to Afghanistan. Masoud, 7, Javed, 17 and their parents were forcibly returned to Afghanistan on 14th of August 2016, after almost 5 years of staying in Norway.

Among most of the families deported to Afghanistan in the past few years or those who have been deported recently are accompanied by children of different ages. They are for sure the most vulnerable group of people that get affected during any deportation process. These children start school, learn the language and generally integrate better into the communities than their parents. Therefore, they often feel that Norway has become their home, whilst there country of origin becomes a more-distant, unfamiliar place to them.

Masoud was only 1 month old when his parents left Afghanistan. Today he has been forcibly returned to a place he hardly knows anything about. The people, environment and every single thing looks new to him. When I met Masoud and the family a couple of days after they were deported to Kabul. Masoud was still talking about his friends in Norway, his school being started and his preparations for going to School. “When are we going back to Norway?” Is what Masoud still asks his parents every morning he wakes up. Masoud is afraid of people moving around with weapons, he is frightened when he sees police with guns moving around the city. He wouldn’t go out of the hotel either himself or let Javed go, because he is afraid something will happen to him.

“I don’t like to go outside, I also won’t allow Javed go out. I am afraid he will get killed!” Said Masoud

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Taliban/ISIS targeting Afghan youth

Deteriorating security situation of Afghanistan and the failure of the National Unity Government has created concerns for most of the Afghans who were once hopeful of a better future. The number of people who have fled Afghanistan in 2015 confirms the fact that Afghans have lost faith in the government and don’t see any future in the country. Instead, they choose to get on dangerous journeys to seek safety and protection. The number of people fleeing Afghanistan might have decreased in 2016, but it hasn’t stopped. Still a large number of people are fleeing Afghanistan, mostly youth and families.

On 23rd July, 2016 at least 80 people belonging to Hazara minority were killed and more than 230 were injured during a peaceful protest in Kabul. Some of those severely injured passed away in the weeks following the attack taking the number of casualties to almost 100 killed. Most of the victims of the attack which was later claimed by ISIS were the Afghan youth. Out of those who lost their lives during the attack, 7 had master’s degrees, 24 had bachelor’s degrees, 40 were university students. This attack was indeed one of the deadliest attacks targeting youth, from a minority group.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/23/hazara-minority-targeted-by-suicide-bombs-at-kabul-protest

In a latest incident on 25th of August Taliban stormed at one of the most prestigious University in Kabul, The American University of Afghanistan, killing at least 12 people mostly students and injuring around 30-35 others. 700 students were present at the time the attack took place. Afghan youth however remain strong and dedicated and feel responsible for their home and county and choose staying over leaving, but for some, there is no other option but to flee. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/24/asia/kabul-afghanistan-american-university-blast-gunshots-heard/index.html

Considering the current deteriorating security situation and the experience of working with a large number of deportees here in Kabul. I have learnt that deportation to Afghanistan at this point of time is clearly not going to solve any problem but will only add in to the already existing problems for the Afghan government. The result of such deportations can never be expected to be the end of the cycle but the start of another cycle, re-migration. A large number of those deported since 2013 are already out of Afghanistan!

 

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About Abdul Ghafoor

Abdul Ghafoor is a refugee rights activist and blogger stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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