Wednesday, April 17, 2024

International Migrants Day and the Plight of Afghan Refugees

Immigration News

Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi is a journalist and editor for Khaama Press. You may follow him @nizamrezahi on Twitter.

Each year, December 18 marks International Migrants Day. The day aims to draw attention to the human rights of migrants and highlight their contribution to society.

International Migrants Day is celebrated throughout the globe to highlight the contributions of migrants to their respective communities. The movement of humans from one country to another for different purposes including education, treatment, work, seeking safety and more is normal and is considered the right of every human being.

The upheavals, war, and political instability have caused people to migrate either legally or illegally to safer destinations. The people of Afghanistan, unfortunately, got adversely affected by the late regime change in their country. After the Taliban’s takeover of power, thousands of Afghans left their country in search of safety and a better life mostly through illegal pathways.  

Thousands of Afghan refugees and migrants are currently residing in Pakistan without any clear legal status. Neither the Pakistani government nor the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (HUNHCR) provides them with legal resident permits or identification cards. This makes their life extremely difficult.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan have tons of problems to deal with. Extending their stay visas and permits takes months, and they even have to pay commission or bribe to the local authorities to get their visas extended. Unemployment, discrimination, and lack of support from refugee advocacy organizations put them in complete desperation. Worst of all the government of Pakistan has already warned twice that Afghan citizens without visas or legal documentation beyond December 2022 will face serious consequences such as imprisonment and deportation.

Meanwhile, in Iran and Turkey, Afghan refugees without legal documentation are deported to Afghanistan on a regular basis. The so-called “seeking asylum is the right of every human being”, unfortunately, excludes the people of Afghanistan who have been desperately scattered all around the world – facing immense discrimination, prejudice, and more.

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