Afghanistan

Europe/Afghanistan: European countries must heed Afghan call to halt returns

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Europe/Afghanistan: European countries must heed Afghan call to halt returns

Responding to a statement by the Afghanistan Ministry for Refugees and Repatriations calling on European countries to temporary halt forced returns to the country, Amnesty International’s Europe Migration Researcher, Adriana Tidona, said:

“The Refugees and Repatriations Ministry’s call to halt returns amid a deteriorating security situation, means Europe can no longer turn a blind eye to the dangers faced by Afghan returnees. For years, European countries have been trying to ignore what is plain to see – Afghanistan is not safe to return people to.

“European governments must heed Afghanistan’s concerns, immediately halt all returns, and ensure that people seeking safety in Europe are protected. Afghan nationals who cannot be returned must be provided with the necessary documents to regularise their stay and fully enjoy their rights while they are in Europe. As the EU’s border agency Frontex coordinates charter flights for returns to Afghanistan, the European Commission also has a critical role to play, and must not participate in any operations which expose people to human rights violations.”

BACKGROUND

On 10 July 2021 the Afghanistan Ministry for Refugees and Repatriation issued a statement calling for the temporary halt of forced returns of Afghan “migrants”. The statement cites “the escalation of violence by the terrorist group of Taliban in the country and the spread of the third wave if the COVID-19”, as well as the deteriorating security situation and increasing internal displacement.

EU-Afghanistan relations, including in terms of migration management and returns, are regulated by the “Joint Declaration on Migration Cooperation” (JDMC), which recently replaced the previous “Joint Way Forward on Migration Issues” of 2016.

In 2020, the Global Peace Index designated Afghanistan as the least safe country in the world for the second year in a row.