Thursday, Feb 28, 2002
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
In the 45-page report, the Human Rights Watch called for implementing any repatriation programme with extreme caution while conditions in Afghanistan remain unsafe, and for ending harassment and violence against refugees in Iran and Pakistan. "While many Afghan refugees want
to go home, there are others who are terrified of returning at this time," said Rachael Reilly, Refugee Policy Director at Human Rights Watch. "Ethnically motivated attacks, lawlessness, and fighting between rival warlords remain rampant in some areas."
The Human Rights Watch report, "Closed Door Policy: Afghan Refugees in Pakistan and Iran," cautions against a hasty repatriation of Afghan refugees while conditions in Afghanistan remain unstable. Human Rights Watch interviewed many refugees, including members of various ethnic groups, and women and girls, who fear continuing human rights abuses inside Afghanistan.
The decades long Afghan refugee emergency did not end with the fall of the Taliban. There remain three and a half million refugees in Pakistan and Iran, the vast majority of whom arrived before the current armed conflict.
Although one hundred forty thousand Afghans went home from Pakistan and Iran in the past six weeks, fifty thousand new refugees fled Afghanistan to Pakistan during the same time period. Refugees interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Pakistan described the human toll caused by that Government's treatment of the refugee population: With borders closed, most refugees had to resort to dangerous and unofficial routes into Pakistan. Refugees were beaten at unofficial checkpoints when they could not afford to pay extortionate bribes. At official crossing points, families were beaten back, or languished in squalor without food, water or latrines hoping to be let in. Once inside Pakistan, refugees were harassed and imprisoned because they lacked identity documents.
They also endured beatings by Pakistani police when queuing for food in camps. "Many Afghan refugees are in a no-win situation.
They have endured violence in Afghanistan, and many fear going home. But they also live with harassment and violence in Pakistan and Iran," said Ms. Reilly. Human Rights Watch called on donor governments to provide adequate funding to the Afghan Interim Authority's Ministry for the Return of Refugees, and for the voluntary return of refugees under conditions of safety and with full respect for their human rights.
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of