EU concerned Pakistan’s decision to expel refugees will put women ‘at risk’

Pakistan appears to be forging ahead with its plan to drive out over 1.7 million undocumented refugees from Afghanistan despite appeals from the international community to overturn their decision.

The spokesperson for the European Union’s External Affairs, Peter Stano, expressed his concern over Pakistan’s decision, saying that it will particularly affect women and girls from Afghanistan if they return home and that this could potentially put them at risk.

Refugees from Afghanistan in Pakistan have spoken out about their desperate plight, saying they are being harassed by the police.

One refugee from Afghanistan, Mohammad Saleem said the situation is becoming very challenging. 

“The situation of the refugees after [October] 31 has become challenging. The people are extremely worried,” he said.

Zahir Bahand, a Pakistani journalist who gave his opinion, said that many refugees from Afghanistan have been detained by Pakistani authorities.

“The situation of the Afghan refugees in Pakistan is concerning. Over the past two days, many Afghan refugees have been detained by Pakistani police, which also included women and girls,” he said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says  approximately 600,000 people from Afghanistan fled to Pakistan after the collapse of the previous government. As Afghanistan continues to struggle through a humanitarian and economic crisis many people in the country are desperately looking to leave the country.

Mahtab, a resident of Herat, criticized host countries for mis-treating refugees from Afghanistan, saying they are being deprived of their basic human rights at home.

“The situation in Afghanistan has worsened. We are not given the right to education, thus we are forced to travel abroad to neighboring countries. But due to the problems there, we cannot study there because we are Afghans, they don’t allow us to study and expel us,”  Mahtab said.

“We are forced to migrate to neighboring countries. Now that the neighboring countries don’t accept the refugees, the situation has become dire for us,” said Samira, another Herat resident.

This comes as UN experts also urged Pakistan to reconsider its decision to expel refugees from the country.