Undocumented Afghan migrants mistreated by Turkish police

Afghan refugees who have been in Turkey for the past year say they are facing a lack of access to their basic rights, including health services, as well as dealing with ill treatment by the police and forced deportation.

They said that even when being deported they are facing mistreatment by Turkish forces.

“The Turkey police ill treat Afghan refugees who have entered the country illegally,” said Faisal, a former Afghan security force member who is in Turkey. “These refugees are not given their rights and when they are sick, they cannot visit hospitals, or pay rent or walk about freely.”

“One big issue for Afghan refugees is the illegal treatment of Turkey’s police towards them because the migrants are beaten up and are put in prison for months and are not given food and water. They are kept in an ‘illegal’ place,” said Atal, another Afghan refugee in Turkey.

Recent statistics by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), citing official figures, show that there are 300,000 Afghans residing in Turkey, with 183,000 officially registered and the remainder undocumented. A significant number have been living in Turkey for several years. Opposition parties say the true figure of unregistered Afghan migrants is far higher.

“I went to Pakistan first. Then over mountains where I saw bodies of people who had died on the way. We faced a challenging time and walked 27 hours to get to Iran.

“When we entered Turkey, the police came and insulted us and left us at the Iran border but we could get to Turkey eventually,” he added.

Undocumented migrants who have been deported from Turkey said they were arrested, beaten up, and then were sent to Afghanistan.

“I was arrested during work and I was sent to a camp where many other migrants were kept. I was beaten up at the level that I never experienced in my life,” said Ahmadullah, a deported Afghan refugee.

This comes after Human Rights Watch said in a 73-page report that tens of thousands of Afghan refugees have been sent back to Afghanistan through the border with Iran.

The figures show that Turkey deported over 44,700 Afghans by air in the first eight months of 2022 which shows 150 percent increase compared to the same period last year.