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Editorial: Treat migrants with dignity

Once you were treated very respectfully by the police and immigration officers in the United States and European countries if you were an Afghan asylum seeker. When the then Soviet had military presence in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the West, particularly the Europe eagerly welcomed Afghans because of their anti-Soviet policies. They tried to prove that the Soviet troops had made Afghanistan a hell for its people and they (the people) were fleeing to find a better life place.

Many people from Iran and Pakistan got asylum in Europe pretending that they were Afghan nationals, because Afghans did not need to answer much questions in the migration offices in Europe and they would get asylum soon after it was proven that they were from Afghanistan.

Even, some officials in Germany would say that Afghans were neither migrant nor guest there. “Afghans own this country like Germans,” a senior Munich official in the 1980s was quoted by an Afghan migrant.

But now, the migrants are categorized by nationalities in Europe. Almost everyone is allowed to enter the western and northern Europe, but Afghans. “You have no right to cross the border,” police have told a female Afghan migrant at the Serbian transit camp of Sid to enter Croatia, the next country along the Balkan route to Germany (apparently the final destination for every Afghan migrant).

The lady with two young daughters has said she has lost her money and is scared of the situation of her older daughter who is 14 years old. “Smugglers have no mercy. If I can’t pay them, they will force her to pay them in another way.”

Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland have said they would send Afghan migrants back to Afghanistan, arguing that the country’s situation is now suitable to live.

The war of the 1980s still flames in Afghanistan even more than those years, claiming the lives of people every day. People still live under the shadow of rockets and shells’ smoke. Finally, Afghans are the same who were in the 1980s. So, why aren’t they welcomed as migrants and why are they humiliated now?

The Europe is requested to consider the situation in Afghanistan. Afghans spend thousands of dollars and take the death risks to get to Europe, are not going there with mere aim to nice parks and clean roads. They choose Europe as a safe and ideal have away from bloodshed. Who can get the risky option with the knowledge of death threatening them and their families? Only those who are the most constrained in their own country. Life is sweet for an Afghan as much as it is for a European. So, they are as helpless as they choose the migration.

The honorable host countries are requested to stop treatment with humiliation to Afghan migrants. They can send back those migrants who cannot qualify the migration criteria, but surely all Afghan migrants are not disqualified.

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