Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today condemned the decision by the government of Pakistan to expel Afghan refugees back to danger in Afghanistan. Thus far, over 70,000 Afghans have been forced to return to potential retaliation from the Taliban after receiving deportation orders dated by October 31. These actions will gravely impact the safety of Afghan refugees, who continue to suffer tremendous loss since the fall of Kabul two years ago.
“Afghans have experienced unimaginable grief, loss, and instability over the last two years, and millions have sought refuge in Pakistan. This decision by the government of Pakistan to expel them is yet another item on a laundry list of harms the Afghan refugee community is being forced to endure,” said Danilo Zak, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS “We condemn Pakistan’s decision, which is a clear violation of international law and will place Afghans directly in harm’s way. We call on the United States to expand pathways to protection for all eligible Afghans in Pakistan and to exert diplomatic leverage to prevent further displacement and returns of vulnerable Afghans to the hands of the Taliban.”
Over 18,000 Afghans in Pakistan have been referred into the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and thousands more await Special Immigrant Visa processing. These Afghans—many of whom would be at particular risk from the Taliban due to their support of U.S. troops and support staff in country—are now uncertain of their ability to continue seeking shelter in Pakistan while their cases are processed.
CWS calls on the United States, in partnership with the international community, to exert diplomatic influence to prevent the immoral forced removal of Afghan refugees and to encourage policies that respect the dignity, humanity and inherent rights of those seeking safety and protection. The administration and Congress must guarantee the ongoing and expanded processing of Afghans in Pakistan who are eligible for U.S. protection—the situation is dire, and the U.S. government must treat it as such.
For more information, or to speak with Zak, contact email@example.com.