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Archive for June, 2003

23 June 2003

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Three Sikh asylum seekers, who were forcibly returned by the UK, were forced to seek shelter in a Sikh temple in Kabul as they had nowhere else to go. Two of them were originally from Jalalabad but had no idea whether they had any relatives still left in that city and so were reluctant to return. Yet, they also felt vulnerable as potential targets of persecution in Kabul as the majority of the Afghan Sikh population has not returned to that city. Three days after their return, they reported that they had been singled out for abuse in a market place in Kabul.

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Amnesty International has today (23 June 2003) singled out the UK, alongside Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, for criticism for its policy of returning refugees to Afghanistan.

The organisation said that the security situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated in 2003, with at least two thirds of the country now in a situation of “generalised instability.” There have been armed attacks on the security forces in Kabul, local commanders continue to fight turf wars, civilians are often killed, women and girls are forced to marry and property is destroyed.

In its report Afghanistan: Out of sight, out of mind: The fate of the Afghan returnees, Amnesty International highlights its concerns that, under current conditions, the return of many refugees and internally displaced persons is unsustainable and is leading to destitution.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Lesley Warner said:

“We urge non-neighbouring states hosting Afghan refugees, especially industrialised states such as European Union countries and Australia, to be aware that the forced return of refugees or rejected asylum seekers from their territory sends out the misleading message that return to Afghanistan should be promoted. It is likely to set a dangerous precedent to developing states which host far larger numbers of Afghans.”

Amnesty International interviewed more than 100 refugees who had been returned to Afghanistan.

Three Sikh asylum seekers, who had been forcibly returned from the UK, were forced to seek shelter in a Sikh temple in Kabul. They reported being abused in a market place in Kabul and said they felt vulnerable as potential targets for persecution in a city where the majority of the Afghan Sikh community has not returned.

The full report is available online at: http://web.amnesty.o…engasa110142003

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