Sunday, May 26, 2024

Afghan refugees protest forced deportations in Pakistan

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

On Monday, a group of Afghan migrants protested outside the office of the United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Islamabad. These protests coincided with the Pakistani government’s impending deadline to expel undocumented migrants from the country.

The protesters, which include defence lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, and individuals vulnerable to the Taliban, argue that the UNHCR hasn’t properly examined their cases over the last two years.

They assert that the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul does not extend visas for Afghan migrants, and the UNHCR is unwilling to provide migrants with official documentation to protect them from harassment by the Pakistani police.

Protesters fear that expulsion from Pakistan would expose them to the Taliban’s human rights abuses. Afghan women’s defence lawyers criticized the UNHCR’s lack of response to the protests. At the same time, some asylum seekers alleged mistreatment by staff at the UNHCR’s partner agency, the Sharpe Office.

Just under a month ago, the interim government of Pakistan gave more than 1.7 million undocumented migrants in the country until November 1st to leave. Pakistan warned that if migrants do not leave the country, they will be imprisoned and deported.

Reports indicate that as November 1st approaches, fear and anxiety are spreading among the migrant population in Pakistan.

However, the spokesperson for the UNHCR, Qaisar Afridi in Pakistan, urged registered refugees to turn to the organization’s defence lawyers if they faced police harassment.

Mr. Afridi recognized recent reports of Pakistani police harassment towards asylum seekers with UNHCR documents and registrations. He explained that UNHCR-appointed defence lawyers could potentially secure the release of detained asylum seekers.

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