360° Coverage : Afghan refugees face abuse in Iran, says rights body

Afghan refugees face abuse in Iran, says rights body

Kabul, Nov 20 (IANS) Iran's policies toward its Afghan refugees and migrant population violate its legal obligations to protect this vulnerable group from abuse, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

Nov 20 2013, 5:24am CST | by IANS

Kabul, Nov 20 — Iran's policies toward its Afghan refugees and migrant population violate its legal obligations to protect this vulnerable group from abuse, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

Iranian forces deport thousands of Afghans summarily, without allowing them the opportunity to prove they have a right to remain in Iran, or to lodge an asylum application, it said.

A 124-page report documents how Iran's flawed asylum system results in a detention and deportation process with no due process or opportunity for legal appeal.

Iranian officials have in recent years limited legal avenues for Afghans to claim refugee or other immigration status in Iran, even as conditions in Afghanistan have deteriorated.

These policies pose a serious risk to the rights and security of the almost one million Afghans whom Iran recognizes as refugees, and hundreds of thousands of others who have fled war and insecurity in Afghanistan.

"Iran is deporting thousands of Afghans to a country where the danger is both real and serious," said Joe Stork at Human Rights Watch. "Iran has an obligation to hear these people's refugee claims rather than sweeping them up and tossing them over the border to Afghanistan."

Human Rights Watch documented violations including physical abuse, detention in unsanitary and inhumane conditions, forced payment for transportation and accommodation in deportation camps, forced labour, and forced separation of families.

Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned about the Iranian security forces' abuses against unaccompanied migrant children - who are traveling without parents or other guardians - a sizable portion of Afghan migrant workers and deportees.

Iranian authorities are increasingly pressuring Afghans to leave the country, it said.

The Iranian government should address the serious flaws in its asylum system that deny Afghans the right to lodge refugee claims, Human Rights Watch said.

IANS

Source: IANS

 
 
 

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