Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Afghan women’s rights activists at risk of expulsion from Pakistan

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmatihttps://www.khaama.com
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

Written By: Tabasum Nasiry

Women’s rights activists who relocated to Pakistan following the resurgence of the Taliban regime and are seeking to migrate to European countries, Australia, and the United States are facing the threat of expulsion from Pakistan.

The Guardian recently published a report stating that more than 30,000 Afghan citizens awaiting Australian visas are living in Pakistan. The newspaper points out that Pakistan is attempting mass expulsion of Afghan migrants, while the Australian federal government has received over 200,000 humanitarian visa applications from Afghanistan since the rise of the Taliban, with 15,852 visas issued to date.

Saroya Rahmat, a law professor in Kabul and the director of a free legal clinic for women experiencing domestic violence, left Afghanistan with her family of five within six months after receiving threats. She shared this during an interview with The Guardian.

She expressed concerns about the expiration of her residency permit in Pakistan, stating that life in Pakistan has not been “easy and safe” for her because she lives in fear of being punished for her work supporting women.

Ms. Rahmat, who has been waiting for a humanitarian visa from Australia for over two years, told The Guardian, “We don’t have a normal life here. We endure many risks… and the Australian government doesn’t pay attention.”

Rahela Asghari, who has been seeking refuge in Pakistan for a while, also expressed concerns about returning to Afghanistan and stated, “If I go [back to Afghanistan], it will be the last time I see this blue sky or my family because returning from there is not possible.”

Rahela, 23 years old, is one of the founders of a women’s leadership support group and left Afghanistan in November 2023 after receiving threats due to her work in supporting women.

According to Asghari, Pakistani authorities have warned her that she will be expelled if her visa expires in that country.

Australia, in response to Pakistan’s move to expel Afghan migrants, announced the acceleration of visa processing for Afghan citizens awaiting the outcome of their protection visa applications, who are at risk of being deported to Afghanistan, considering it a matter of “high priority.”

Susan Hutchison, the founder of a women’s rights advocacy group, criticized the government for neglecting her efforts to address urgent cases of women in danger, stating that “the federal government does not prioritize women like Rahmat and Asghari who urgently need help.”

According to The Guardian’s report, the “illegal foreigner crackdown by Pakistan” has affected the lives of approximately 2 million Afghans, with around 200,000 Afghan refugees being expelled by early November.

It is worth noting that the Australian government has given priority to issuing humanitarian visas for women and girls, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other minority groups.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has also stated in a recent report that the expulsion of Afghan migrants from Pakistan will put women’s rights activists at risk of persecution.

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