Iran and Turkey pushing back Afghan refugees, violating international law, says Amnesty

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Last Updated on 3 months by Mukesh

As per a report released by Amnesty International on Wednesday, Iran and Turkey are violating international law by barring Afghan refugees from entering their countries or by returning them against their will to live in danger under the Taliban dictatorship. 

Following the US’s catastrophic military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, which allowed the hardline Taliban Islamists to restore power, hundreds of thousands of people fled the nation. 

The bulk, however, had to evacuate by land, primarily toward Iran and then Turkey, while individuals who helped US forces, in particular, were airlifted out. 

They are particularly vulnerable to border police who use violence or threats to keep them out or push them back because many of them are destitute and lack passports or other acceptable travel credentials, according to Amnesty International.

As per the report, “Iranian and Turkish security forces have unlawfully used firearms against Afghans trying to cross the border irregularly as a deterrent and a pushback method, sometimes resulting in deaths or injuries.” 

Amnesty claimed that their conclusions were derived from interviews with a large number of Afghans, including 74 who were forcibly returned, occasionally with children or other family members. 

As per the NGO, there have been several instances of “unlawful killings, pushbacks by shooting and other unlawful returns, arbitrary detention, and torture and other ill-treatment of Afghans at the hands of both Iranian and Turkish officials.” 

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It specifically listed the 11 Afghans who were killed by Iranian security forces and the three Afghans who were killed by Turkish forces throughout the previous year.

The right to seek asylum and the prohibition against refoulment—the forcible return of refugees to nations where they would face persecution or other human rights violations—are guaranteed by international law. 

As per Amnesty International, no Afghan should be sent back because of the possibility of grave human rights violations there, which is also the opinion of the UNHCR (United Nations elevated Commissioner for Refugees). 

increaseitionally, it urged the international community to aid nations hosting Afghan refugees and to scale up efforts by Europe, the US, and Canada to make it easier for Afghans at risk of Taliban assassination to leave their country.

(with inputs from agencies)

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