Afghan refugees are being forced back to their war-torn homeland from neighboring countries, mostly from Iran. A recent UN report says over 4,000 Afghan refugees were deported from Iran last week alone.
Returning to an uncertain future
The International Organization of Migration (IOM) has reported that between 19 and 25 November, thousands of undocumented Afghan refugees returned to Afghanistan from Iran. The IOM said the mass-migration is being caused by deteriorating protection space in Iran. Here hundreds of Afghan refugees are seen crossing the border at Islam Qala, Herat Province in western Afghanistan.
A lonely road
According to the IOM, 89 percent of the refugees deported between 19 and 25 November were individuals, out of which the majority were single men. Only seven single female deportees were registered during this time.
Protecting the old, sick and vulnerable
Afghan migrants are facing harsh winter temperatures. The IOM provided post-arrival assistance to over 750 vulnerable groups from November 19-25. Included were 127 unaccompanied children, 80 people who needed medical assistance, and 15 unaccompanied elderly. According to the UN, last week 90,000 displaced people received humanitarian assistance and winterization support across Afghanistan.
Mistreatment in Iran?
Left out in the cold with no way home
This unnamed deportee told DW that he was held at a detention center for 12 days and forced to work and pay for his departure. "It's cold and I am freezing," he said. "In the end I sold my phone and they let me out. Now I am here at the border and I do not even have money to drive to my own province."
The IOM estimates that in 2017, a total of approximately 560,000 Afghans could return from Pakistan and Iran. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a recent report that 900,000 internally displaced people are currently living in camps in inhumane conditions across Afghanistan and around 3.3 million Afghans will need humanitarian assistance next year.
Authors: Reza Shirmohammadi, Shoib Tanha Shokran
First published: December 6, 2017
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