KABUL (SW) – With the publication of a UNICEF report about the number of Afghan migrants in neighboring countries, a number of these migrants say they are deprived of basic rights in the host countries in the region.
UNICEF has noted in this report that 8,200,000 Afghan citizens live in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, of which 1,600,000 have migrated in the last two years.
In the UNICEF report, it is stated: “Prolonged crises in Afghanistan have led to the continuation of Afghans traveling abroad. Now, more than 8.2 million Afghans live in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan due to different situations, of which 1.6 million have settled in these countries after the establishment of the Islamic Emirate.”
Shukriya Siddiqui, an Afghan migrant in Pakistan, says that she left the country due to security problems and now, fearing arrest by the Pakistani police, she cannot even take her patient to the hospital for treatment. He added: “Afghan migrants cannot find work. We cannot visit a doctor, we treat ourselves and our children with the medicine we have at home. We live in a house with a lot of people in hot weather and with the least facilities. Our children do not have access to education.”
Sayyaf Ahmadi, another Afghan migrant who has been working in Iran for the past two years, says that the pressure from the country’s government on Afghan migrants is increasing day by day. He added: “There were many problems that’s why I came to Iran to work. People who work openly are in danger of being fired and forced to work secretly. Recently, these restrictions have increased.”
Officials in the Ministry of Immigrants and Returnees Affairs say that not only in neighboring countries seven million more Afghan refugees live around the world. They added that they have been able to provide work and ease of life for 19,000 returning Afghan migrants. Abdul Mutalib Haqqani, the spokesman of the Ministry of Immigrants and Returnees Affairs, told Salam Watandar that six million Afghan refugees are now living in Iran and Pakistan alone.
He added: “We have sat and talked with the host countries from time to time to solve the problem of Afghan migrants. Not long ago, we had a quadrilateral meeting with Iran, Pakistan and UNHCR to solve the problem of migrants.”