Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, November 20th, 2017

Iran Expels 100,000 Afghan Refugees Last Solar Year

Iran Expels 100,000 Afghan  Refugees Last Solar Year

HEART CITY - Iran forcibly expelled more than 100,000 Afghans into western Herat province last solar year, local officials said on Sunday.
Ahmad Javid Naadem, Herat’s refugees and repatriation director, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview that Iran started forcibly deporting Afghan refugees through Nimroz port in late January.
Calling the Nimroz route as difficult for refugees to commute, he said: “In the past, Iran would expel 1,500 to 2,000 Afghan refugees annually with 70 percent of them from western provinces.”
But last solar year, Iran deported more than 100,000 Afghan refugees including 50 women and 2,800 orphan children
Besides that, 15,000 Afghan refugees voluntary returned to their country from Iran last year, Naadem said.
“Iran in the past would charge 50,000 Iranian rials from each Afghan refugee family leaving the country but the amount is now increased to 500,000 rials which is unaffordable for majority of the families,” he said.
He said shortage of resources, troubled route, security threats and high costs were main challenges the returning Afghan refugees faced, particularly children and women.
Ali Aqa Alizada, a resident who sold all his belongings to live with his family in Iran, said he traveled to Iran for work, but he was forcibly deported by Iranian police last week. He traveled to Iran with his wife and four children about a year ago.
“After being arrested, Iranian forces tortured and beat us and also took all our money,” he said.
“They beat us badly and snatched everything we had, they even thrown us into a pool of water and tortured us under fire-emitting sun,” he said.
Shafiqa, another Afghan refugee who was recently deported from Iran said: “We sold all our belongings but police took all the money from us, we now want the government to help us.”
Meanwhile, Independent Human Rights Commission head for western zone, Abdul Qadir Rahimi, said evidence showed Iranians harshly treated Afghan refugees.
He said the Afghan government was responsible to resolve refugees’ problems. “A special investigation about Afghan refugees is required to look into cases of refugees who are forcibly expelled from Iran,” he said.
A number of civil society activists link Afghans’ immigration to foreign countries to uncertain political future of Afghanistan, security threats, poverty and increasing joblessness in the country.
Abdul Qadir Kamil, a political expert, said: “Iran and Pakistan use Afghan refugees as a pressure tool against the Afghan government,”
The Iranian Consulate in Herat did not respond to Pajhwok’s phone contact.
The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation says donor aid for returning Afghan refugees has been decreased by 30 percent. (Pajhwok)