UN Urges Ban on Forced Returns to Afghanistan

The United Nations (UN) on Aug. 17 called on countries to ban forced returns of Afghans to the war-torn country after the Taliban seized control of the capital.

The UN Refugee Agency said that it has released a “non-return” advisory for Afghanistan to urge its member states to ban forced returns of Afghan nationals, including asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected.

The advisory will remain in effect “until security, rule of law and the human rights conditions improve enough” for safe returns, the UN agency said.

UN Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told reporters in Geneva that the agency “remains concerned about the risk of human rights violations against civilians in this evolving context” and called for “access to territory” to Afghan civilians fleeing from the conflict.

“States have a legal and moral responsibility to allow those fleeing Afghanistan to seek safety, and to not forcibly return refugees,” Mantoo said.

Mantoo welcomed several European countries that temporarily halted deportations of failed asylum-seekers and voiced hope that other countries would follow.

The UN agency estimated that over 550,000 Afghans have been internally displaced by the conflict since the beginning of 2021 and tens of thousands have crossed international borders in recent weeks.


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