There are about 20,000 Afghan refugees in Turkey, most of whom have arrived in recent months, according to the Ankara office of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. When Arezao Naiby and her family had to leave Kabul in 2015, they did not intend to go too far. The officer, she says “was just checking off yes or no on a list of questions.” A week after the interview, in early 2016, Naiby got a letter saying her claim had been rejected because, as German law now required, she had failed to explain why she, personally, was in danger. Germany followed up by officially declaring there were “internal protection alternatives,” in Afghanistan – that Afghan cities like Kabul were safe to deport most Afghans to. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) chapter in Turkey … According to Turkish officials, the vast majority of graves have been filled with Afghans, who for four decades have been fleeing the chaos wrought in Afghanistan by one of the world’s longest ongoing conflicts. Groups there have included Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, Sudanese and other nationalities - including women, children and families, arriving in precarious conditions. Millions returned home after the Soviets withdrew, only to flee again during the subsequent civil war and rise of the Taliban after 1996. We speak to some of those facing impossible choices. Turkey hosts some four million refugees and asylum seekers, according to the UNHCR, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in the world. In November 2018, a Refugees International team sat in Ali Hekmat’s office in Kayseri, Turkey, as he told us about the harsh realities Afghan refugees face living there. “The group was a kilometre or two ahead of us, and the guide beat us with a stick to keep pace with them,” he says. refugee hosting country after Turkey. Every month, chartered planes carry scores of Afghans who have been denied asylum in Germany back to Kabul. “I remember Nowruz,” he finally says with a grin, casting a glance at his wife Gulchaman, 65, seated nearby. Afghan boy beaten to death by Turkish officers. Those who were caught were deported by Turkish authorities. Staying close to their country is not as possible as it once was for Afghans. They grew all over the ground where we lived.”. Left with nowhere close to home to take refuge, many are trying for Europe, a journey that takes them west through Iran and Turkey. UNHCR: Urban Refugee Women's Network – Turkey: Publisher: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Publication Date: December 2017: Country: Syrian Arab Republic | Turkey: Topics: Refugees: Related Document(s) UNHCR: Gender Equality Promising Practices Syrian Refugees in the Middle East and North Africa: Cite as Additionally4, 170,000 Afghan refugees and asylum seekers reside in Turkey, as a transit country for migratory routes to Europe5. Most other Afghans in the country have not been so lucky. How Afghan refugees are helping Turkey fight coronavirus UNHCR initiative sees Afghans in Kayseri produce 1,000 face masks a day and soap to aid hospitals and local community. Dozens of children, men and women are waiting to get a positive answer from United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Ankara city to grant them asylum as they fled their homeland due to war and risks which threatens their lives. Originating mainly from the provinces in the eastern border areas, the majority of Afghan refugees in Pakistan are ethnic Pashtun (85 per cent) with smaller numbers from other ethnic groups, including Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik and Hazara. Since 2002, more than 5.8 million Afghan refugees have been repatriated with the assistance of the UNHCR. Before leaving Afghanistan, Naiby’s mother worked as the top official overseeing women’s prisons in Kabul. They threatened to kill him if they saw him again. “In therapy, you need something to build on. (McGreger, 2019) There are also sizeable Afghan refugee populations in India, and as far away as Malaysia and Australia. “Syria, before the war, unless you were politically involved in opposition groups, you had a stable life, and that has not been the case for Afghanistan,” Stoyer says. “My daughter’s stomach was torn apart… her stomach was out of her body,” Mohseni says. Only around half of the refugees are registered, with the rest to live without documents, mostly in northeastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southwestern Balochistan provinces which border war-infested Afghanistan. According to the UN, attacks on schools in Afghanistan tripled after 2017, nearly half of them taking place in Nangarhar province. In 2010, refugees from Afghanistan numbered near 3,500 and made a sizable proportion of Turkey’s registered migrants. By 1989, within a decade of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, more than six million Afghans were living in Pakistan and Iran, with thousands more in dozens of other countries around the world, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. Soyer is managing director of the Munich Counseling and Treatment Centre for Refugees and Torture Victims, where hundreds of Afghans are referred each year for treatment. Colombia followed, hosting nearly 1.8 million displaced Venezuelans. The government says it is responding to the surge in arrivals of non-Syrian refugees by building seven … German authorities said she had to return to Afghanistan on her own, signalling, she said, that they had little understanding of the situation in the country. Estimates of the undocumented Afghan population in Turkey vary widely. Naiby recalls living in any available building, in cities like Bonn and Cologne. Here, refugees and asylum-seekers can find information to help them know more about their rights, obligations and the services available to them. Born in Pakistan, his family are ethnic Pashtuns from near the city of Jalalabad, in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. Those who do register with the authorities, like Muhammad, are given “Proof of Registration” cards, and each year Islamabad threatens to revoke those, blaming the Afghans for Taliban attacks in the country. “They have been coming through here since the Soviet invasion,” he told Al Jazeera, “but in the last three years it’s become a constant flow of refugees, and we wish they did not come.”. Zakira Hekmat too confirms these arbitrary actions. Their foreign “guests,” as the locals refer to the people crossing the frontier, are kept in village homes with curtains drawn to keep out prying eyes. So Muhammad and his family remained in Pakistan, among the 2.5 million Afghans there, half of whom are not registered with Pakistani authorities and all of whom are made increasingly unwelcome by the country’s laws. A 21-year-old sleeps in the back of a butcher shop in Kabul, Afghanistan after being returned from Europe. In 2020 alone, nearly 300,000 Afghans have been internally displaced due to conflict, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in a statement marking the end of a five-day visit to Afghanistan by the High … UNHCR has replenished stocks of dry food and blankets to support new arrivals and has confirmed that other actors have additional items in stock. Afghan Refugees Fighting COVID-19. Community-based protection : Key ways that UNHCR … “There is no advantage of being near the border, except the smuggling, but that brings its own problems,” says Ulgen. Afghan refugees are helping to fight COVID19 in Turkey. In light of the … In early 2019, he paid thousands of dollars to smugglers in Pakistan who led him, his 11-year-old son, and two relatives to the Pakistan-Iran border, then across Iran to the Turkish border. There are around 2.8 million documented and undocumented Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, making it the largest refugee population in the world after the Syrians in Turkey. “I told them we were poor, and we are only going to get medication for my child, but they detained me. Most of the gravestones have no names at all. Some days, the smugglers demand more money, other days they say they must wait for the Turkish police along the roads to let their guard down. In Turkey, Mohseni and the others spent weeks being moved around by more smugglers, driven in the dead of night from one place to the next as they moved west. Today, a Syrian applying for asylum in Germany has a 99.8-percent chance of being accepted; more than half of Afghans, though, will have their asylum claim rejected, according to the EU’s official statistics. While the situation on the Turkey’s western borders and Greece and movement of several thousand people is of concern, the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the northwest Syria and massive humanitarian needs in Idlib for some 950,000 of internally displaced people continues to require urgent action. Afghan refugees in Pakistan. To drive the point home, German authorities have bought billboards in Kabul and plastered ads in trains in Europe warning Afghans that they will not receive asylum. All States have a right to control their borders and manage irregular movements, but at the same time should refrain from the use of excessive or disproportionate force and maintain systems for handling asylum requests in an orderly manner. See more of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency on Facebook The local forces put a lot of pressure on people, they sent us to the front to fight when the Russians came,” he says. About 23,780 Afghans were deported in 2019.⁴ AFGHAN … Pakistan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. There are around 2.8 million documented and undocumented Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, making it the largest refugee population in the world after the Syrians in Turkey. There, he says, Iranian border guards robbed them of all they had. Despite being born in Iran and speaking Farsi like a local, she says her hopes were dashed by a litany of laws meant to keep Afghans from settling down. “The fighting was especially bad in Mazar-i-Sharif. Challenging deportation has become more difficult as well. For many, smuggling people is the most profitable business in the area – a badly kept secret the villagers are happy to explain over lunch. I had a family, we hoped that soon enough peace would come back and we could return. Most have fled the war in Afghanistan. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres meets with a group of refugees, many of them Afghans, at a hotel in Islamabad on the eve of the Refugee Summit. Life in Iran seemed promising at first, Yakoubi says. Only 15,425 refugees … 116,403 Afghan asylum seekers and 1,192 Afghan refugees are residing in Turkey.² 41,559 Afghans in an irregular situation were arrested by Turkish authorities from January to October 2020.³ 6,000 Afghans were deported from Turkey to Afghanistan from January to October 2020. When they said they did not have any proper immigration papers, Naiby’s father and brother, like hundreds of thousands of other Afghans in Iran that year, were swiftly deported. Defeating the virus is going to take all hands on deck. Over the years, things only seemed to become messier in Nangarhar. Turkey hosted the highest number of people displaced across borders, 3.9 million, most of whom were Syrian refugees (92%). “My cousins got involved in the war, and they killed my uncle. At the Dogubayazit bus station in Turkey, a man from Afghanistan shows a video of the illegal border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Stuck now in Sariciman, Muhammad is kept along with dozens of other Afghans in a house with cardboard and tin foil covering the windows, one of several safe houses in the village that locals use to hide migrants until they are ready to be moved. … Turkey hosts some four million refugees and asylum seekers, according to the UNHCR, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in the world. It was our destiny.   |  Español They hiked through the mountains along the border, and in the winter snow, he says nine of the other Afghans travelling with him died. Mohseni brings a ballpoint pen with him to trace the letters of her name in the concrete tombstone, to make sure it does not disappear among the hundreds of knee-high concrete slabs in this cemetery in Van, in the east of Turkey near the Iranian border. For more information on this topic, please contact: Our fight against sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, Environment, Disasters and Climate Change. Refworld contains a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. We speak to some of those facing impossible choices. … As of October 2017, of the non-Syrian population of protection-seekers in Turkey: about 44% are from Afghanistan, 42% are from Iraq, and 10% are from Iran. Gulchaman Nowruzi, 65, kisses her copy of the Quran next to her husband Khodadad Yaqubi, 76, at their home in Van, Turkey, where they live with their two daughters [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Yakoubi, his wife, and their infant son fled to Iran in 1981, not expecting the war to last long. Arezao Naiby, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, photographed at her workplace in Cologne, Germany [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Her father and brother went out one day and did not return. “We don’t come here for fun,” Muhammad says. The change in policy immediately put more than 11,000 Afghans in Germany on a list for deportation and called into question hundreds of thousands of other pending applications by Afghans in the country. He was told either to pay to hire a horse or to leave his children and wife behind because they would slow the group down. 1) The UNCHR causes our problems to increase by not proceeding our files quickly. 170,000 Afghan refugees and asylum seekers reside in Turkey, as a transit country for migratory routes to Europe 5 . In the 1980s, as the war between the Mujahideen and the Soviet Union erupted around them, they decided to head for Pakistan, already home to a sizeable population of Pashtuns. Sprawled on cushions in an apartment in Van, an ailing Khodadad Yakoubi, 76, carefully traces his fingers over the lines in his Quran, proudly reciting. 10 Jun 2020 Travelling outside of one’s designated district requires permission. Pakistan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Consequently, the EU imposed rules making it much more difficult for refugees to make the journey, signing a deal with Turkey which agreed to accept the people Europe returns. Afghans have to wait up to two years before being granted refugee status, but UNHCR made a statement in May 2013 saying that all Afghan applications for refugee and asylum status have been frozen. With Afghanistan still suffering from war and with few prospects of a stable future in Pakistan, Muhammad – who used to work informally at a vegetable market or transporting goods in wheelbarrows – says he decided to try for Europe. Kubra Yakoubi, second from left, joins others from Afghanistan and Iran, as they attend weekly Turkish language lessons in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Simple things like enrolling in university, or using public gyms, or joining a high school indoor football team, she says, became nearly impossible. Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Most are shackled in their seats and guarded by German police officers hired as private security to accompany them on the flights. Al Jazeera reported that 12 Afghan refugees fighting COVID-19 in the Turkish city of Kayseri are helping local volunteer groups with funding from the UNHCR. The city of Kabul, Afghanistan [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]“Is it possible to go and live in Afghanistan as a young woman, alone?” Naiby says. Muhammad’s family returned to Nangarhar in 2005, only to find it was still a contested prize in the war between the government and the Taliban, so they went back to Pakistan. Afghan refugees in Turkey find themselves unable to work legally, waiting for a call from the United Nations that never seems to come. Turkish officials claim that the returns of Afghan immigrants are voluntary. Muhammad has spent his entire life as a refugee, shuttling between his homeland and neighbouring countries in what he says has been a search for a stable life. More than 1.2 million people applied for asylum in Europe in 2015 and another 1.2 million in 2016; approximately 15 percent of those applicants were Afghans, according to the European Union. The law was eventually enacted but with penalties only for civil servants who help those scheduled for deportation. Refugees and asylum-seekers may benefit from social assistance coordinated by the governorships in the provinces. In 2017 and 2018, this dropped to less than 50,000 Afghans a year – largely because of mass deportations of Afghans crossing through Turkey. More than 10 percent of Afghan patients have attempted suicide, and more than 60 percent of them have clear suicidal tendencies, but few are able to obtain the proper documentation to prevent deportation. UNHCR Representation in Turkey, Enis Behic Koryurek Sokak No: 15/A, ]Aziziye Mahallesi, 06550 Cankaya, Ankara, 06550 Ankara, Turkey. Afghan refugees in Turkey find themselves unable to work legally, waiting for a call from the United Nations that never seems to come. And German authorities floated the idea of following a trend in other European countries of prosecuting refugee rights activists for simple actions like publicising the time and location of a deportation flight. The asylum officer, she says, “couldn’t even search on the internet for two minutes to know even where Afghanistan is, and why we left.”. Since 2014, Turkey has been the country hosting the largest number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in the world – with the vast majority being nationals of the Syrian Arab Republic. In Greece, UNHCR teams reported the arrival of some 1,200 people on 1 March and 2 March morning on the East Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos) - higher than the recent daily rate. One evening, 10 days after the accident, as Mohseni was being brought back to prison, he was told Zahra had died. Nearly half of Iran’s provinces have barred foreigners from living there altogether, a policy rights advocates say is aimed at keeping Afghans out. A half-hour drive west of the Iranian city of Urmia, Mohseni says, he and hundreds of other Afghans were brought to the foothills of the mountains straddling the Turkish border. © UNHCR/Ivor Prickett Ahead of the summit, the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner met on Sunday with a group of 20 refugees … The constant war has meant there is no stable life in places like Jalalabad. refugees, Afghans constitute the second largest refugee population after Syrians. With Turkey financing the bulk of its refugee response, the Government called for sustained international responsibility-sharing in line with the Global Compact on Refugees, and proactively contributed to the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019. Pakistani law grants birthright citizenship, but as a matter of policy, Islamabad has not applied it to Afghans like Muhammad. On the borders between Turkey and the EU, UNHCR is working with national partners, Turkish Red Crescent, IOM and Unicef, assessing the situation and providing humanitarian assistance where needed. “Even reports from hospitals where someone has been admitted for a suicide attempt may no longer comply with these new regulations,” Soyer says. But by the time her asylum application process took off, she was over 18, and no longer part of her parents’ case. How I photographed the start of Tunisia’s Arab Spring, In wake of election loss, Trump’s enemies list keeps expanding, Trump downplays massive cyberattack on US government agencies, UK imposes tighter curbs amid confirmation of new COVID strain, Stuck in Guantanamo for 12 years, Afghan inmate’s health at risk, Al Jazeera Centre for Public Liberties & Human Rights. Already forced to work at the bottom of the Iranian economy, Afghan families like the Yakoubis became the target of ire from Iranians who claim they are taking their jobs. Naiby’s father and brother in Kabul, meanwhile, applied with the German embassy there to be reunited with her mother in Germany. One might note where the body was found; another might have a number signifying where in a year’s sequence of burials that one took place; another might include the name of a place – the authorities’ best guess at where the deceased came from. Hamdi Mohseni visits the grave of his daughter Zahra, in a cemetery for the unidentified and those who cannot afford a grave plot, in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Back in Van, the Mohseni family now lives surrounded by reminders of their journey. Greece, and other States on the EU external border, should not be left alone. Relocating to another part of Afghanistan offered no guarantee of work or safety or the promise of medical treatment for Faisa, so the family decided to leave the country and try to reach Europe. At the same time, international support to Turkey, which already hosts millions of refugees, as well as other countries neighbouring Syria, must be sustained and stepped up. In July 2018, the Member States and the European Commission agreed to mobilise another €3 billion for the Refugee Facility. It soon became clear that none of them would be able to stay in Iran, so Naiby, her mother and sister headed to Turkey and, by December 2015, had reached Germany. Some were able to return, for a while, but had their lives upended by a fresh eruption of conflict and violence – either to be displaced elsewhere in the country, or to become refugees yet again Refugees who cross the border illegally walk for hours or days to reach their destinations [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]“Do you want to meet an Afghan?” one villager asks, and minutes later Nek Muhammad shuffles into the room. However, Amnesty International found out that refugees were forced to sign voluntary repatriation forms in Turkish which they were unable to understand. As Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours shut their doors, many refugees embark on the treacherous journey to Europe. Furthermore, many of the UNHCR quotas for the resettlement of refugees in third countries (such as in Europe), which formerly belonged to Iranians, Afghans and Iraqis, were allocated … The UN refugee agency UNHCR warned, in a statement published on Thursday, that the number of refugees resettled in 2020 would be very small compared to previous years. She takes them out, gently pressing Zahra’s pretty, blood-stained, dress to her cheeks. In 2019, the … Afghan refugees in Turkey are in legal limbo in which their status is unclear. Afghan refugees represent one of the world’s largest protracted refugee population. 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