Turkey is routinely pushing tens of thousands of Afghans back at its land border with Iran. Deporting them directly to Afghanistan with no examination of their claims for international protection. Turkey has stepped up pushbacks and deportations to Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

ANKARA NOVEMBER 19: Turkey is routinely pushing tens of thousands of Afghans back at its land border with Iran or deporting them directly to Afghanistan with little or no examination of their claims for international protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on November 18.

The 73-page report, “‘No One Asked Me Why I Left Afghanistan,’” says that Turkey has stepped up pushbacks and deportations to Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover there in August 2021.

Human Rights Watch also found that Afghans inside Turkey are being blocked from registering for international protection and that Afghans facing imminent deportation are often given no opportunity to make refugee claims. As of October 20, 2022, the Presidency of Migration Management in Turkey’s Interior Ministry reported 238,448 “irregular migrants whose entrance to our country has been prevented” in 2022, most of them Afghans.

Turkey reported deporting 44,768 Afghans by air to Kabul in the first eight months of 2022, a 150 percent increase over the first eight months of 2021.

“Although Turkey has rightly earned international acclaim and support for hosting the largest number of refugees of any country in the world, it is simultaneously pushing many Afghans back at its borders or deporting them to Afghanistan with little or no examination of their claims for international protection,” said Bill Frelick, refugee and migrant rights director at Human Rights Watch.

“Turkey should immediately halt these routine pushbacks of Afghans from its borders and give all Afghans facing removal the opportunity to make refugee claims.”

Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees of any country in the world, an estimated 3.9 million people, 3.6 million Syrians with temporary protection and 320,000 others, mostly Afghans.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 68 Afghans, 38 of whom described 114 pushback incidents between January 2021 and April 2022. All the men and boys travelling without female family members personally experienced or witnessed Turkish authorities beating or otherwise abusing them and others who were with them. Many also said that Turkish border authorities shot in their direction, sometimes at them, as they approached or attempted to cross the border.

“I told them I was a journalist, that my life is at risk, and that I wanted to go to Europe not stay in Turkey, but they didn’t listen to me,” said a 25-year-old journalist from Paktia Province, recalling his pushback experience on August 30, 2021, shortly after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. “They beat us with batons, and with the kind of iron stick that is used for construction.” The journalist recalled the Turkish border guards waiting to see when there were no Iranian guards on the other side and then pushing him and 29 others back across the border.

Since taking power, the Taliban have imposed severe restrictions across Afghanistan, carried out revenge killings and enforced disappearances of former government officials and security force personnel, detained and beaten journalists, summarily executed alleged Islamic State fighters, and failed to protect groups targeted for attack by the Islamic State, such as ethnic Hazaras.Since taking power, the Taliban have imposed severe restrictions across Afghanistan, carried out revenge killings and enforced disappearances of former government officials and security force personnel, detained and beaten journalists, summarily executed alleged Islamic State fighters, and failed to protect groups targeted for attack by the Islamic State, such as ethnic Hazaras.

Because Turkish authorities block access to asylum, forcibly return people who appear to be refugees, and commit other abuses against migrants and people seeking international protection, Turkey does not meet the criteria of a safe third country provided by EU law under Article 38 of the Asylum Procedures Directive, Human Rights Watch said.

Afghans Sell Their Kidneys & Children To Survive

Image: Mark Lowen

Social Jobs