Pakistan begins second phase of Afghan migrant deportations

Afghan returnees in Afghanistan. Photo: WFP

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani government on Sunday initiated the second phase of deporting Afghan refugees after it expelled over 600,000 immigrants in the first phase.

Authorities aim to expel more than 800,000 Afghan migrants, according to Al Jazeera. Since the deportation process began in November of last year, Pakistan has already expelled about 541,000 Afghan refugees.

This phase of the controversial plan focuses on deporting undocumented refugees to Afghanistan.

Philippa Candler, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Islamabad, urged Pakistan to review the profiles of undocumented Afghans before expelling them, emphasizing that many are “in need of international protection.”

“They’re refugees. They’re not involved in terrorist activities. They’re just people who fled and who need protection,” Candler told Al Jazeera.

The report also highlighted appeals from migrants living in Pakistan who have urged the government to grant them more time to return to their homeland with dignity.

The deportation of Afghan migrants by Pakistan has faced strong condemnation from UN experts, Amnesty International, and several other human rights organizations.