Amnesty International says the European Union is “brazenly” violating international law by forcing thousands of Afghan refugees back to their war-torn homeland, where they face the risks of death, torture and other
Publish Date: 08 October 2017
In a report released on Thursday, the UK-based rights group lists "harrowing” cases of Afghans sent back home from European nations such as Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.
"In their determination to increase the number of deportations, European governments are implementing a policy that is reckless and unlawful,” said Amnesty’s Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights Anna Shea.
"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,” SHE ADDED.
The report, which includes interviews with several of Afghans forced back home, said some of the returnees have been killed or injured in bomb attacks in Afghanistan, a country rife with Taliban and Daesh militancy.
"These returns brazenly violate international law and must stop immediately. 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,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.
Amnesty also called on "all European countries to implement a moratorium on returns to Afghanistan until they can take place in safety and dignity.”
According to official EU statistics, between 2015 and 2016, the number of Afghans returned by European countries to Afghanistan nearly tripled: from 3,290 to 9,460. The returns correspond to a marked fall in recognition of asylum applications, from 68% in September 2015 to a low 33% in December 2016.
The United Nations counted almost 11,500 civilian casualties in Afghanistan last year.
Some 16 years into the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the country is still plagued by terrorism and militant activities.
The military invasion removed the local Taliban militant group from power in 2001, but their militancy continues to this day. In addition to Taliban-fueled violence, Daesh terror group has also gained a foothold in the country, complicating Afghan government efforts to restore stability to the country.