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HEMAKTUELLT & PRESSPressmeddelandenAfghanistan refuses forced expulsions

Afghanistan refuses forced expulsions

afgh banderollPress Release 15-02-23:

The Minister of Refugees and Repatriation in Afghanistan addresses all countries that have agreements on the repatriation of asylum seekers and urges the countries to stop forced expulsions. The countries have expelled too many people who come from dangerous areas and Afghanistan is not capable of taking care of them. Afghanistan has already rejected several deportation flights, including one from Sweden.

Update in Swedish 15-03-01 15-03-01, see also Kabulblogs info in English 15-02-28

The Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, FARR, encourages the Swedish authorities to suspend all forced deportations to the war-torn country and to release those Afghans who are now in custody.

Refugee Minister Hussain Alami Balkhi will during Tuesday 24th be interviewed in Radio Sweden ​in Swedish and Farsi.

The Refugee Minister explained some days ago in an interview with the Norwegian journalist Mona Bentzén that when the agreements were made, the situation in Afghanistan had started to improve. The agreements anyway concerned only adult men, not women and children. Moreover, no one who came from dangerous areas was to be returned. But now these criteria are not respected; most of those who return originate from dangerous areas.

Afghanistan has a specific dispute with Norway which under its new Migration Minister from the somewhat xenophobic Progress Party has stepped up the forced expulsions. Several families have been expelled. In the last week Afghanistan refused to let in a woman who was deported from Norway alone with two children without having anywhere to go. Another family with children who came from one of the most dangerous areas is still in a transit hotel near Kabul's airport and Afghanistan is negotiating with Norway to take back the family. Another flight scheduled for 21 to 22 February was refused landing permission.

According to sources known to FARR, Sweden had requested permission to land in Kabul with 24 deportees in the near future, but the request has been refused.

Refugee Minister Balkhi says that when the opportunity arises undoubtedly many Afghans will return voluntarily. Norway's reasoning is that the deportees coming from dangerous areas can stay in the capital Kabul. But it is not possible for Kabul to receive the seven million Afghan refugees in exile, the minister pointed out. According to the agreements return should be carried out to the provinces that the expelled persons came from. This is not possible for those recently deported, and therefore Afghanistan now wants to stop all forced deportations until new arrangements are made.

FARR has met many desperate people who were deported later even though they had nothing to come back to and who now risk their lives in their communities. The expulsion orders from the Swedish immigration authorities often refer precisely to the possibility of internal flight. In addition many of the deported persons have barely been in Afghanistan because they fled long ago and lived undocumented in a neighboring country.

It is impossible to find employment in Kabul without contacts. The Afghan authorities have their hands full with the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons already in the country, in addition to fighting insurgent groups who have stepped up attacks against civilians since NATO withdrawal - the same groups that most Afghans in Sweden have fled from .

We have met young boys who have attended school for the first time in their lives in Sweden, but who have been deported to destitution. Others are forced to leave their jobs. We have met completely traumatized adolescents who attempted suicide in detention but yet were transferred to Kabul by force, barely conscious. Families have been split when the father was deported. Even people under great threat have been deported, such as converts and interpreters who worked for foreigners. A child with an open wound after surgery was surreptitiously fetched together with her family early in the morning, and was flown to Kabul the same evening.

We have kept in touch with some of those expelled and a tragic fact is that most people could not get support in Afghanistan. Even if it would be wonderful to return home, it is not possible. Therefore they are already on the run again, in hideouts in Afghanistan, or across the border in Iran or elsewhere. Their situation is not resolved - but Sweden has got rid of them.

An initial report from FARR's Afghanistan Project will be presented in March. We hope that this will bring to an end this tragic period.

FARR welcomes the fact that Sweden seems to have delayed the forced expulsions, in recent months, instead of scaling up the expulsions as Norway did. But there is no formal decision to stop expulsions and a number of Afghans are currently in detention centers. Many more are living with expulsion orders, including families with children and young people with no relatives in Afghanistan.

We encourage the Migration Minister Morgan Johansson and the authorities concerned

  • to respect Afghanistan's desire to refuse any forced expulsions,
  • to release the Afghans who are currently in detention,
  • to allow Afghans who have spent a long time in Sweden to have their deportation decisions reconsidered because they can not be returned in the foreseeable future.

Sanna Vestin, chair, and Ahmad Zaki Khalil, board member, of the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, FARR

Please observe: Even if the home country refuses to accept rejected asylum seekers they will still not have residence permits in Sweden. Rejected asylum seekers will still be required to have new individual grounds in order to re-open their cases.

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