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Resolving Afghan refugees’ problems

Afghans, living in a refugee, have become hopeless as the current and previous governments failed to take notice of their desperate conditions and repatriate them honorably. The refugees seemed exhausted after prolonged waiting as the relevant ministry lacks the capacity and will to protect their rights and speed up work on the townships that are supposed to be only for the returnees. Those who returned from Iran and Pakistan after fall of the Taliban’s regime have left the country again—this time for Europe—or packed bags to leave soon. They once dreamed of having a public-friendly government which would be committed towards public welfare. The massive-scale immigration is a good epitome to gauge performance of the concerned authorities and get a picture of their futile hopes.

Since the UNHCR, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran have agreed in Geneva to hold a session regarding refugees’ problems, Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation should do its homework and discuss challenges in detail that are faced by Afghans in these countries. Not only that, but the UNHCR should be asked to protect rights of Afghan immigrants in other countries as well. In the recent past, basic rights were denied to Afghans in Iran, Turkey and some European countries. They were abused, tortured and forced to live in isolation or camps that turned their life upside down.

In the neighboring Pakistan and Iran, Afghans are deprived of their fundamental rights. Children in Iran were not allowed to get education and their parents are harassed at workplaces. Similarly, in Pakistan the refugees are not allowed to work freely. Their business-places and homes are raided, frequently. In many families we see the children as the sole breadwinners. In the age which is supposed to be for education, they are involved in laborious tasks. Despite that police in the neighboring countries grill them and rob them of their hard-earn cash.

Though, the concerned ministry has claimed about its preparations for the meeting but had not shared details with public. Protection of Afghan refugees’ rights will depend on the ministry’s stance and preparation. Rights’ protection is not only about extension in their stay but dignified living and repatriation. The ministry should also discuss repatriation of Afghans with the UNHCR. The UN body should be asked to set up camps for Afghans in those European countries where they are stranded.

Repatriation of the refugees should be top priority of the ministry, especially at a time when the workforce is leaving for foreign. Education and healthcare facilities shall be provided in the townships for the returnees, because many of the repatriated people will have uneducated children.

According to the UN reports, around five million children including three million girls have no access to education in Afghanistan. It is a shocking figure that should prompt those sitting at the key positions to take practical measures.

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