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Greece Highlights: Greece calls for common and coordinated EU stance towards Afghanistan (July - August 2021)

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In view of the events that unfolded in Afghanistan in August, Greece, along with another 97 countries, committed to ensuring that citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans whom they have worked with and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan.

While UNHCR is deploying all possible humanitarian support inside Afghanistan facing a desperate situation, UNHCR released a nonreturn advisory, calling for a bar on forced returns of Afghan nationals to their country of origin. In the wake of the rapid deterioration in the situation of large parts of the country and the unfolding humanitarian emergency, UNHCR calls on States to halt forcible returns of Afghan nationals including those who have previously been determined not to be in need of international protection.

In addition, financial aid, safe pathways, including resettlement, should complement and not substitute the direct access to territory and procedures for persons who apply for asylum in European countries. UNHCR encourages States to show humanity and solidarity should Afghan nationals arrive at their borders seeking protection.

In light of Greece’s recent declaration of Turkey as safe third country for asylum seekers of five nationalities, including Afghans, UNHCR is calling for an inclusive consideration of Afghans’ asylum applications in Greece. This is particularly important given the limited return prospects to Turkey currently and the risk for persons in need of international protection finding themselves in protracted legal limbo.

In Greece, Afghans currently represent the top nationality of asylum-seekers and refugees.
UNHCR estimates that there are 31,000 Afghans in the country, of whom 62% are women and children (as of end July). Among the children who have arrived in Greece alone, the majority is from Afghanistan (32%) according to EKKA data as of July 2021.