Europe returning more Afghan refugees despite violence: Amnesty International


Afghan refugees deported from Germany arrive at the international airport in Kabul on September 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

An international group says European states are returning many more Afghan asylum seekers despite growing insecurity and violence across the war-ravaged country. 
said in a new report on Thursday that European governments remained willfully blind to the dangers faced by the returnees. It also added that the European Union was pressuring Kabul tremendously to accept the large numbers of returnees.
Citing EU statistics from 2015 to 2016, the Amnesty report, said the number of Afghan citizens who returned to their native country from nearly tripled from 3,290 to 9,460.
This comes as Norway appears to be the European country responsible for the largest number of forcibly returned Afghans.
In 2016, the five European countries from which the most Afghans were returned were Germany (3,440), Greece (1,480), Sweden (1,025), the United Kingdom (785) and Norway (760), according to the report.
Meanwhile, Anna Shea, Amnesty International’s researcher on refugee and migrant rights, in a statement, has called for a moratorium on Afghan returns until they can take place with “safety and dignity.”
“In their determination to increase the number of deportations, European governments are implementing a policy that is reckless and unlawful,” the statement read.

Afghans who were deported from Germany exit the Kabul International Airport in on December 15, 2016. (Photo by AP)

“Willfully blind to the evidence that violence is at a record high and no part of Afghanistan is safe, they are putting people at risk of torture, kidnapping, death and other horrors,” Shea added.
Reacting to the report, Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty’s Afghanistan researcher, said the returns violate international law.
“The same European countries that once pledged support for a better future for Afghans are now crushing their hopes and abandoning them to a country that has become even more dangerous since they fled.” 
The report, which is based on desk and field research conducted between May and September 2017, has documented a total of 26 cases. 
Violence persists across Afghanistan
The report by Amnesty International comes as the deteriorating security has persisted across Afghanistan this year.
In August, militants stormed a packed Shia mosque in Kabul during Friday prayers, ending with at least 20 worshippers killed and another 50 seriously wounded.
On May 31, in one of the largest attacks in Kabul’s history, more than 150 people were killed and twice as many injured when a bomb exploded in one of the best-protected districts of the capital.
This is while figures by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan showed civilian casualties remained high, with, 11,418 people killed or injured in 2016, That’s up from 11,002 civilian casualties in 2015.
Between 2009 and 2016, nearly 25,000 civilians were killed and more than 45,000 wounded.
Intelligence service reports say at least 20 militant groups, including the Taliban and affiliates of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, operate in Afghanistan, mostly in border areas near Pakistan.
Afghanistan has suffered 16 years of war that began with the US invasion in 2001.Ordinary Afghans are frustrated by the relentless violence.
The latest report comes as Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in conflict-ridden regions, forcing more people to flee their homes.

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