BAAG, 30 November 2018
This policy paper by the British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) looks at returns – enforced and voluntary – both from neighbouring countries Iran and Afghanistan as well as from Europe. Since 2015, 59% came from Iran, 41% from Pakistan, with the rest from EU countries including the UK (0.6%).
Afghanistan has experienced unprecedented levels of returns in recent years and, compounded by exponential rises in internal displacement, the situation now constitutes a major humanitarian crisis. (…) Increasing returns and ‘readmissions’ is now a primary objective of the EU and in 2016 the EU-Afghanistan Joint Way Forward was signed, despite wide scale concern that returns were being used as a new mechanism for aid conditionality. (…)
The Joint Way Forward is incorporated in the EU Strategy for Afghanistan and puts pressure on the Afghan Government to accept large numbers of returns even though their capacity to absorb and assist new arrivals is worryingly low. While the Joint Way Forward document is public, its implementation plan is not and there are no figures available on the funding packages referenced in the document. All records of the Joint Working Group on Migration, which is meant to monitor its impact and facilitates its implementation, are confidential.
The number of Afghan asylum applications denied by Member States has risen and deportations of Afghans have nearly tripled. Discrimination against Afghan asylum seekers has resulted in their applications beingpushed to the ‘back of the queue’ and a backlog of more than 160,410 applications were pending at theend of 2017.
This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020