Afghan refugees, Turkey Although violence between NATO forces and the Taliban has decreased substantially over the past few years, thousands of Afghan refugees continue to reside in refugee camps in neighboring countries, such as Turkey, for fear of returning to hostility and violent retribution. Problems of Afghan refugees after obtaining temporary residence in Turkey. Turkey also maintains a significant non-Syrian population. It only became worse.”. Turkey is home to almost 3.6 million Syrian refugees and close to 330,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers of other nationalities, including Afghans and Pakistanis, according to the … Gulchaman Nowruzi, 65, kisses her copy of the Quran next to her husband Khodadad Yaqubi, 76, at their home in Van, Turkey, where they live with their two daughters [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Yakoubi, his wife, and their infant son fled to Iran in 1981, not expecting the war to last long. Afghan refugees represent one of the world’s largest protracted refugee population. Challenging deportation has become more difficult as well. UNHCR is monitoring developments in Turkey and in Greece and is offering its support. As in all such situations it is important that the authorities refrain from any measures that might increase the suffering of vulnerable people. Turkey hosts some four million refugees and asylum seekers, according to the UNHCR, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in the world. Finally, in early 2019, one night in the city of Van – “when the smuggler figured he couldn’t get any more money out of us,” Mohseni says – they were put in a minivan and told they would be taken west to the city of Tatvan, and then on to Ankara. Even well-documented and publicly known asylum cases of Afghans fleeing the Taliban – like that of the Naiby family – now faced rejection. “I grew up with a big question in my mind,” says Kubra Yakoubi in fluent English, “what’s the difference between us, what is a refugee, what is an Afghan girl, what are these things?”. Afghans do not have a foundation of stability in their youth, even their youth was marked with persecution or displacement. But they kept driving late into the night, as they took unpaved roads through the mountains to evade police. ▪Community-based protection: Key ways that UNHCR Iran engages with … “But I felt big differences all the time between us, and every place I went in the streets, Iranian people would bother me, tell me terrible words, like cursing because you are Afghan, because you are lower than us, and I didn’t know why, because I was born there.”. Following a recent change in asylum procedures for Afghans and other non-Syrians in Turkey, Afghans have been facing increasing difficulties in registering with the authorities. Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Buying real estate, obtaining permits to work, even getting a SIM card are among a long list of activities that Afghans can only do through the help of Iranian nationals. A 21-year-old sleeps in the back of a butcher shop in Kabul, Afghanistan after being returned from Europe. Turkey continues to host the largest number of refugees worldwide, as the number of people forcibly displaced across the world due to conflict, violence and persecution hit record levels. Naiby’s father and brother in Kabul, meanwhile, applied with the German embassy there to be reunited with her mother in Germany. Turkey currently hosts the largest population of refugees in the world, including a growing number of Afghan refugees. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is appealing for calm and an easing of tensions on Turkey’s borders with the European Union in light of the present increased movements of people there – including refugees and asylum-seekers. There are about 20,000 Afghan refugees in Turkey, most of whom have arrived in recent months, according to the Ankara office of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. refugee hosting country after Turkey. Since 2014, Turkey has been the country hosting the largest number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in the world – with the vast majority being nationals of the Syrian Arab Republic. Dear UNHCR Authorities, Afghans refugees are the third largest irregular refugee group in Turkey. The last few years, according to the UN, have been the deadliest in Afghanistan for more than a decade, with more than 10,000 civilians killed or injured every year since 2014. Pakistan and the UN refugee agency are holding a conference to highlight the challenges facing Afghan refugees. Afghan refugees in Turkey find themselves unable to work legally, waiting for a call from the United Nations that never seems to come. Today, a Syrian applying for asylum in Germany has a 99.8-percent chance of being accepted; more than half of Afghans, though, will have their asylum claim rejected, according to the EU’s official statistics. She takes them out, gently pressing Zahra’s pretty, blood-stained, dress to her cheeks. As of 26 June 2020, refugees of the Syrian Civil War in Turkey … Therefore, the stay of registered Afghan refugees … 170,000 Afghan refugees and asylum seekers reside in Turkey, as a transit country for migratory routes to Europe 5 . Before leaving Afghanistan, Naiby’s mother worked as the top official overseeing women’s prisons in Kabul. For many, smuggling people is the most profitable business in the area – a badly kept secret the villagers are happy to explain over lunch. UNHCR initiative sees Afghans in Kayseri produce 1,000 face masks a day and soap to aid hospitals and local community. Soyer is managing director of the Munich Counseling and Treatment Centre for Refugees and Torture Victims, where hundreds of Afghans are referred each year for treatment. The city of Kabul, Afghanistan [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]“Is it possible to go and live in Afghanistan as a young woman, alone?” Naiby says. Here, refugees and asylum-seekers can find information to help them know more about their rights, obligations and the services available to them. All States have a right to control their borders and manage irregular movements, but at the same time should refrain from the use of excessive or disproportionate force and maintain systems for handling asylum requests in an orderly manner. One evening, 10 days after the accident, as Mohseni was being brought back to prison, he was told Zahra had died. When Arezao Naiby and her family had to leave Kabul in 2015, they did not intend to go too far. Naiby assumed that because the whole family was at risk because of their mother, asylum would be extended to her as well. Despite being born in Iran and speaking Farsi like a local, she says her hopes were dashed by a litany of laws meant to keep Afghans from settling down. The volume, kept wrapped in layers of colourful cloth and bound by a yellow sash, is the only possession the Yacoubi family has managed to hold on to in the 38 years since they left Afghanistan. Life in Iran seemed promising at first, Yakoubi says. But few find a welcome there. In early 2019, he paid thousands of dollars to smugglers in Pakistan who led him, his 11-year-old son, and two relatives to the Pakistan-Iran border, then across Iran to the Turkish border. Only around half of the refugees are registered, with the rest to live without documents, mostly in northeastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southwestern Balochistan provinces which border war-infested Afghanistan. The two relatives turned back, but he continued with his son. There are few schools in Sariciman, and little work beyond farming and raising sheep. The Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan jointly host 91 per cent — some 2.4 million — of Afghan refugees worldwide. They paid smugglers to cross into Iran from Afghanistan’s Herat province, then spent another month and a half being passed from one smuggler to the next, westward through Iran. He worked in construction, on dairy farms, as a stone cutter, in a factory processing beans – the handful of blue-collar jobs Iranian law allows Afghans to work. UNHCR said it is "urging states to resettle as many refugees as possible in 2020 in order not to lose those resettlement opportunities for refugees, and to maintain resettlement quotas for 2021." “We don’t come here for fun,” Muhammad says. “So I had to pick up my son and put him on my back to move fast.”. For moreinformation, see: AIDA, Country Report Turkey, 2018 Update, March 2019. Up to 50 per cent of Afghan refugees … There, he says, Iranian border guards robbed them of all they had. Zakira Hekmat too confirms these arbitrary actions. Pakistan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. At the same time, international support to Turkey, which already hosts millions of refugees, as well as other countries neighbouring Syria, must be sustained and stepped up. “I remember Nowruz,” he finally says with a grin, casting a glance at his wife Gulchaman, 65, seated nearby. Hamdi Mohseni visits the grave of his daughter Zahra, in a cemetery for the unidentified and those who cannot afford a grave plot, in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Back in Van, the Mohseni family now lives surrounded by reminders of their journey. Pakistan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Nearly half of Iran’s provinces have barred foreigners from living there altogether, a policy rights advocates say is aimed at keeping Afghans out. The change in policy immediately put more than 11,000 Afghans in Germany on a list for deportation and called into question hundreds of thousands of other pending applications by Afghans in the country. With Afghanistan still suffering from war and with few prospects of a stable future in Pakistan, Muhammad – who used to work informally at a vegetable market or transporting goods in wheelbarrows – says he decided to try for Europe. “They told me how to pass to not be arrested by either.”. Every month, chartered planes carry scores of Afghans who have been denied asylum in Germany back to Kabul. See more of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency on Facebook The coronavirus pandemic has brought a temporary decline in those figures: Just 44,327 Afghans were apprehended in Turkey between January and November 2020, probably as a result of lockdowns in Turkey and Europe, as well as asylum application processing being suspended in European countries. UNHCR Turkey: Syrian Refugee Camps and Provincial Breakdown of Syrian Refugees Registered in South East Turkey - November 2020 Published: 11 November 2020 (1 month ago) Uploaded: 14 December 2020 (2 days ago) In November 2018, a Refugees International team sat in Ali Hekmat’s office in Kayseri, Turkey, as he told us about the harsh realities Afghan refugees face living there. In 2015, Tehran began offering universal free education and health care, even for un-registered Afghan refugees. Colombia followed, hosting nearly 1.8 million displaced Venezuelans. The only seat was for the driver, everything else was taken out to make room for the people the smugglers would pack inside, nearly 60 of them, Mohseni says, by the time they set off for what they were told was a half-hour journey. The constant war has meant there is no stable life in places like Jalalabad. Refugees and asylum-seekers may benefit from social assistance coordinated by the governorships in the provinces. Dozens of children, men and women are waiting to get a positive answer from United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Ankara city to grant them asylum as they fled their homeland due to war and risks which threatens their lives. With an influx of refugees and asylum seekers since 2011, the once-small operation now finds itself serving the largest… Sprawled on cushions in an apartment in Van, an ailing Khodadad Yakoubi, 76, carefully traces his fingers over the lines in his Quran, proudly reciting. Defeating the virus is going to take all hands on deck. According to the United Nations, there some 103,221 Afghans there, of whom 3,472 have been awarded refugee status. UNHCR has replenished stocks of dry food and blankets to support new arrivals and has confirmed that other actors have additional items in stock. On the borders between Turkey and the EU, UNHCR is working with national partners, Turkish Red Crescent, IOM and Unicef, assessing the situation and providing humanitarian assistance where needed. Staying close to their country is not as possible as it once was for Afghans. Because of this approach by the UNHCR, a large number of Afghan refugees have lost their lives as they have chosen to independently and illegalty smuggle themselves to EU member countries. According to German law, asylum seekers suffering from mental illness should not be deported, as they are considered highly vulnerable, but Soyer says it is becoming increasingly difficult to prove that an asylum seeker falls into this category. Mohseni, who speaks softly with a distant look in his eyes, says in the last two years he has seen no other visitors here, except for the gravediggers who show up to inter the dead. Some were able to return, for a while, but had their lives upended by a fresh eruption of conflict and violence – either to be displaced elsewhere in the country, or to become refugees yet again For an Afghan to be granted asylum, they now needed to show they, personally, were being threatened in their country. Afghan Refugees Fighting COVID-19. I had a family, we hoped that soon enough peace would come back and we could return. Most are shackled in their seats and guarded by German police officers hired as private security to accompany them on the flights. The law was eventually enacted but with penalties only for civil servants who help those scheduled for deportation. Groups there have included Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, Sudanese and other nationalities - including women, children and families, arriving in precarious conditions. German staff were pulled out of the country, and have not returned to this day. Afghan boy beaten to death by Turkish officers. He was told either to pay to hire a horse or to leave his children and wife behind because they would slow the group down. “The group was a kilometre or two ahead of us, and the guide beat us with a stick to keep pace with them,” he says. The Communication with Communities (CwC) team in Turkey was on a mission. Outside are the fruit stand and the street corner where they boarded the minibus for the journey that would kill Zahra. In 2010, refugees from Afghanistan numbered near 3,500 and made a sizable proportion of Turkey’s … Naiby recalls living in any available building, in cities like Bonn and Cologne. … Arezao Naiby, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, photographed at her workplace in Cologne, Germany [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Her father and brother went out one day and did not return. Born in Pakistan, his family are ethnic Pashtuns from near the city of Jalalabad, in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. But by the time her asylum application process took off, she was over 18, and no longer part of her parents’ case. Turkey's refugee breakdown in 2019 was "neighbor countries:" Syrians 3.6 M, Iraqis 142,000, Iranians 39,000, "Asia:" Afghans 172,000, "Africa:" 11,700. But, like the estimated three million other Afghans in Iran, Yakoubi worked with no guarantee employers would keep their promise to pay wages, and he had no one to turn to when he got injured on the job. Since 2002, more than 5.8 million Afghan refugees have been repatriated with the assistance of the UNHCR. We speak to some of those facing impossible choices. Muhammad’s family returned to Nangarhar in 2005, only to find it was still a contested prize in the war between the government and the Taliban, so they went back to Pakistan. Mailing Address: Enis Behic Koryurek Sokak, No: 15, Aziziye Mahallesi, Cankaya Ankara, 06690 Ankara, Turkey. In 2010, refugees from Afghanistan numbered near 3,500 and made a sizable proportion of Turkey… For nearly a year, they were moved from city to city in Germany, between makeshift camps in school gymnasiums and hospitals. Greece, and other States on the EU external border, should not be left alone. “On this side of the mountain was Iran, and on the other Turkey … he showed me the Turkish police and Iranian police,” Mohseni says. Continued European resources, capacity and solidarity are needed to boost Greece’s response. The UNHCR is also active in Turkey; however, in 2013, the UNHCR stopped processing claims from Afghan refugees due to capacity issues. “The fighting was especially bad in Mazar-i-Sharif. They rely on the kindness of locals and other Afghans. Iranian police stopped them and asked for their documents. UNHCR Representation in Turkey, Enis Behic Koryurek Sokak No: 15/A, ]Aziziye Mahallesi, 06550 Cankaya, Ankara, 06550 Ankara, Turkey. In 2010, refugees from Afghanistan numbered near 3,500 and made a sizable proportion of Turkey’s registered migrants. Izz The deportations were halted temporarily due to the pandemic, but in June Germany restarted deportations of asylum seekers to other European countries, and is expected to begin deportations to Afghanistan as well. Muhammad and other Afghan refugees who fled the Soviet invasion made Pakistan the world’s largest host country for refugees for more than two decades. But soon after they had submitted all their documents to the embassy, a car bomb exploded there in May 2017, killing 150 people, and prompting Berlin to shut down all diplomatic missions in the country. … Germany hosted the third largest number, almost 1.5 million, with Syrian refugees … Kubra Yakoubi, second from left, joins others from Afghanistan and Iran, as they attend weekly Turkish language lessons in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Simple things like enrolling in university, or using public gyms, or joining a high school indoor football team, she says, became nearly impossible. For the Yakoubi children, three daughters and a son, growing up in Iran brought the realisation that despite being born there, most Iranians were not ready to accept them. “They have been coming through here since the Soviet invasion,” he told Al Jazeera, “but in the last three years it’s become a constant flow of refugees, and we wish they did not come.”. Afghan refugees are helping to fight COVID19 in Turkey. But the migrants, Afghans among them, continue to come. Can a key reform curb smuggling? Following a recent change in asylum procedures for Afghans and other non-Syrians in Turkey, Afghans … It didn’t happen. UNHCR supports the development and implementation of the national refugee response strategy. At least 54 migrants died in June when the boat they were in sank as they attempted to avoid checkpoints along the roads in eastern Turkey by crossing Lake Van, near the Iranian border. The pressure on Afghans in Iran only intensified with the imposition of US sanctions on the country over its nuclear programme in 2018. They have the right to reside in the country, but lack the right to work or the kind of state assistance needed to avoid working. Compelled by what they call the discriminatory policy of the UN refugee body, these asylum seekers in Turkey resorted to sit-in protest on April 14, 2014 in Ankara in front of the UNHCR office which is still in progress after a lapse of one and a half months. Dear UNHCR Authorities, Afghans refugees are the third largest irregular refugee group in Turkey. More support needed for refugee education in Iran UNHCR, 06 Dec 2019. By 1989, within a decade of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, more than six million Afghans were living in Pakistan and Iran, with thousands more in dozens of other countries around the world, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. You cannot go back and build a stable life on that past experience.”. There are almost 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is appealing for calm and an easing of tensions on Turkey’s borders with the European Union in light of the present increased movements of people there – including refugees and asylum-seekers. “None of these things you see, even the glass you are drinking tea from, belong to me,” says Mohseni. They now live in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Mohseni and his family are among the millions of Afghans who have fled their country. In Greece, UNHCR teams reported the arrival of some 1,200 people on 1 March and 2 March morning on the East Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos) - higher than the recent daily rate. Turkey currently hosts the largest population of refugees in the world, including a growing number of Afghan refugees. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Iran’s efforts to extend education opportunities for nearly half a million Afghan … In 2015 and 2016, at the height of the flow, nearly half a million Afghans in total were able to apply for asylum in Europe. Afghan refugees in Turkey are in legal limbo in which their status is unclear. “In therapy, you need something to build on. Two Afghan men put away apples they received from a motorist as they walk along the highway between the Turkish cities of Dogubayazit and Agri, near the border with Iran. Afghanistan refugees are nationals of Afghanistan who left their country as a result of major wars or persecution. Refworld is the leading source of information necessary for taking quality decisions on refugee status. Mohseni brings a ballpoint pen with him to trace the letters of her name in the concrete tombstone, to make sure it does not disappear among the hundreds of knee-high concrete slabs in this cemetery in Van, in the east of Turkey near the Iranian border. Afghans in Iran have not fared much better. Welcome to the ‘Help’ website run by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Over the past four decades, many have been forced from their homes to never see them again. “I was so focused on her stomach I did not notice her head injury.”. “We wanted to stay in Iran, to not go far from Afghanistan, and everything happened so fast we had no choice,” says Naiby, 23, who now lives in Cologne, Germany. 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