Afghan asylum seekers stranded in Greece risk deportation

 Clothes hanging on barbed wire fence at the Elliniko refugee camp Clothes hanging on barbed wire fence at the Elliniko refugee camp Nick Paleologos/SOOC/Al Jazeera

30 November 2016
Closing of makeshift refugee camp in Elliniko, Greece raises issue of perceptions of security situation in Afghanistan.

The Greek authorities have announced plans to close down the improvised refugee camps in Elliniko, which are hosting over 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers. This decision will have huge practical and psychological impacts on refugees’ lives, as a high number of Afghans risk being deported back to Afghanistan following the EU’s deal with Turkey to have all asylum seekers entering Greece after 20 March returned en masse to Turkey.

The problem with deportation of Afghani asylum seekers stems from Afghanistan’s changing security situation: armed militant groups frequently attack parts of the country, which are are therefore considered dangerous and other areas are regarded as conflict-free. However, as various militant groups gain ground, this landscape rapidly changes and, as a result, distinguishing those escaping war from those looking for better work opportunities no longer makes sense.

In its report released in October 2016, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed concern about the rising number of civilian casualties from the armed conflict, including several attacks intentionally targeting peaceful civilian demonstrators, educational facilities, judicial and media workers, as well as bazaars and religious sites. UNAMA called on all parties in the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law.


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