Afghanistan diplomatic missions urge host countries to protect asylum seekers’ rights

A group of Afghan migrants in border near Pakistan. November 2023. File Photo.

On World Refugee Day, the Coordination Council of Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan issued a statement calling on host countries to intensify efforts to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

The statement emphasized the importance of “upholding the principle of non-refoulement and halting the forced repatriation and deportation of at-risk individuals.”

Since the Taliban’s “military takeover” of Afghanistan, numerous people have been forced to flee due to “severe repression, persecution, and gross human rights abuses,” the statement said. It underscored that the situation in Afghanistan is “particularly grave for women, girls, civil society activists, human rights defenders, and minority communities,” who face “intensified threats.”

The missions also noted that the economic collapse and recent natural disasters, including earthquakes, have caused mass internal displacement within the country.

The council argued that without an inclusive government in Afghanistan that guarantees rights, safety, and essential services to the people, “efforts to stem the flow of refugees will remain challenging.”

This appeal comes as Iran and Pakistan have increased efforts to deport Afghan refugees residing illegally within their borders. According to an early UN report, over 600,000 Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan since October last year, following Islamabad’s passage of a law to deport undocumented Afghan refugees.