Afghan asylum seekers that were forcibly returned to their country are at risk of torture, kidnapping and death, Amnesty International said. Almost 9,500 Afghans went back to their homeland last year after their asylum applications were rejected in Europe. In 2015, there were 3,300 applicants, around three times less than last year. The number of deported asylum seekers covers those who were detained and then deported from European countries, and those who “ostensibly voluntarily” returned with financial assistance, Amnesty explained.
“European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law,” the pro-human-rights organization said in a report entitled “Forced Back to Danger”. The influx of returnees from Europe coincides with a rising number of civilian deaths in the country’s ongoing conflict that forces struggle to fight Taliban and jihadists in most parts of the country. Last year, almost 11,500 civilians were killed or wounded, one third of them being children, which is the highest number of non-combatant casualties since the United Nations began collecting figures in 2009. In 2017, civilian casualties stayed at a record high.
“Willfully blind to the evidence that violence is at a record high and no part of Afghanistan is safe, they are putting people are risk of torture, kidnapping, death and other horrors,” Anna Shea of Amnesty International commented. The organizations thus urged the EU to suspend further deportations until the situation in Afghanistan “permits returns to take place in safety and dignity”.