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More than 2,000 Afghans detained in UAE: HRW

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Kabul: Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have arbitrarily detained between 2,400 and 2,700 Afghans for over 15 months in the “Emirates Humanitarian City,” a humanitarian logistics hub in Abu Dhabi, Human Rights Watch said today.

“Emirati authorities have kept thousands of Afghan asylum seekers locked up for over 15 months in cramped, miserable conditions with no hope of progress on their cases,” said Joey Shea, Human Rights Watch’s UAE researcher.

Sixteen Afghans interviewed late last year by the group said they could not freely leave the site, with security guards or minders watching them closely on hospital visits and during the only shopping mall visit they have been permitted.

The report said Emirati authorities are not abiding by international law and U.N. guidelines for dealing with asylum seekers and migrants, making their detention “arbitrary”.

“The camp is exactly like a prison,” one Afghanistan national inside the camp, roughly midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, told the international Human Rights Watch.

called on the UAE to immediately release the Afghans, allow them access to “fair and individualized” processing to determine their refugee status and protection requirements, and permit them to live where they want until their cases are resolved.

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