UNHCR calls on Tajikistan to prevent repatriation of Afghan refugees at risk

Tajikistan is deporting Afghan asylum seekers, which is of concern to the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR. According to UNHCR reports, 11 men, women and children were deported to Afghanistan without their asylum and protection claims being considered on November 11. UNHCR is particularly concerned about the growing number of obstacles in Tajikistan for Afghan citizens seeking protection and access to asylum processes.

Despite the fact that residence cards are mandatory for asylum applications, local authorities suspended the residence permits of all newly arrived Afghans in late July, according to the UNHCR press release. In addition, the Refugee Status Determination Board (RSD) has suspended its work on examining asylum claims. Newly arrived Afghans are now unauthorized into the country and face fines, arrests and deportations due to these asylum restrictions.

Tajikistan remains obliged to allow access to its territory

UNHCR urged the Tajik authorities to refrain from returning Afghan asylum seekers to Afghanistan and to quickly resume legal residence and refugee status determination procedures. Tajikistan remains obligated to allow access to its territory to anyone seeking international protection under international and national refugee and human rights law, according to the UNHCR press release.

Since August, UNHCR has issued a comprehensive recommendation of no return for Afghanistan, calling for an end to all forced repatriation of Afghan nationals. Only a fair and effective refugee status can determine whether or not Afghans traveling to neighboring countries have international protection needs. As a result, it is impossible to say whether those who have returned to Afghanistan are concerned about persecution or human rights violations, according to UNHCR. Forced returns in these situations can expose asylum seekers to persecution upon their return and thus constitute a significant violation of international law. In this changing situation, UNHCR is concerned about the likelihood of human rights violations against civilians, especially women and girls.

Afghan evacuees accommodated at US military base in Kosovo could be returned to Afghanistan

On the other hand, the Biden administration could return Afghan evacuees from a US military base in Kosovo to Afghanistan if they do not pass the verification process, according to CNN. The move comes as the United States has yet to develop a comprehensive plan to resolve the dilemma of where to resettle Afghans if they fail the U.S. security clearance process.

(Photo: AP)

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