BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Call to stop Afghan repatriation
Afghans in truck in Karachi
Conditions 'not right' for return home
A leading human rights group has criticised the UN's policy of promoting the voluntary repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan.


UNHCR has admitted conditions are unsafe in parts of Afghanistan. So why advocate for refugees to return now?

Rachael Reilly
Human Rights Watch
New York-based Human Rights Watch says that the UN should reverse its policy because conditions on the ground inside Afghanistan are still "extremely unstable."

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees issued a statement saying governments hosting Afghan refugees should offer incentives for them to return.

Large numbers of Afghans took refuge in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran as well as other countries during the long years of civil war and, more recently, because of the drought in their country.

But many started to go back after the fall of the Taleban last year.

'Unstable' conditions

Human Rights Watch says that the UNHCR is sending out the message that conditions in Afghanistan are sufficiently stable for a large-scale return.

Afghan refugees crossing the Pakistan border
Many Afghans have already made the journey
"This is contradicted by conditions on the ground, " says Rachael Reilly, the group's refugee policy director.

She says the risk of persecution still exists for some ethnic groups.

She also points to a security vacuum in the north due to continuing rivalry between warlords in the area.

Ms Reilly said the UNHCR itself had already admitted that conditions were unsafe in parts of Afghanistan.

She added that there were serious doubts about whether humanitarian agencies had the funding and resources to cope with the large numbers of returnees the UNHCR was promoting.

In its statement last week, the UNHCR said that Afghanistan had entered a "new political phase" and the time was now "ripe" for Afghans to go home.

More than a million Afghan refugees have gone home from Pakistan alone this year.


Rebuilding

Political uncertainty

Profiles

Issues

FACT FILE

IN DEPTH

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

16 Jul 02 | South Asia
11 Jul 02 | Politics
04 Jul 02 | South Asia
04 Jul 02 | South Asia
02 Jul 02 | South Asia
31 May 02 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes