Iranian authorities plan to expedite deportation of Afghan refugees

MONITORING (SW) – Iranian authorities have once again expedited the deportation of Afghan refugees lacking legal documents for stay in Iran.

In a latest incident, Hamza Sulaimani, the Director General of Immigrant Affairs and Foreign Nationals for the Kermanshah state, emphasized upon the implementation of the plan to identify, arrest and deport undocumented Afghan immigrants and said that all of them will be completely deported from Iran.

Quoting Sulaimani, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that the implementation of each stage of this plan will continue for at least three days to two weeks.

Meanwhile, a number of undocumented Afghan immigrants in Iran say that for some time now, they spend their days and nights in hiding due to the fear of arrest and deportation. They want the Iranian government to stop the forced deportation of undocumented Afghan immigrants.

Mohibullah, an Afghan immigrant in Iran, says: “Our request is to stop the forced deportation of undocumented Afghan immigrants so that they can work for themselves and their families.”

“We want to be given a residency certificate,” says Jan Agha, another Afghan immigrant. “We are like prisoners here, and if we go outside the factory, we will be arrested and deported.”

Every day, thousands of people voluntarily or forcibly return to Afghanistan through the border crossings with Iran in Herat and Nimruz provinces.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) has recently said that since the beginning of this year, 82,900 Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan from Iran, 43% of whom are children.

It added that the number of Afghan returnees from Iran has increased by 20% compared to last year.

Rahimi, a resident of Herat, who immigrated to Iran illegally three years ago as a laborer, says that he was forcibly deported from Iran due to not having legal documents. He adds: “We were arrested by the police because we did not have documents, and we were in the dormitory for three days. We were harassed and beaten and they sent us to Afghanistan.”

Yema, another citizen who was forcibly returned to Afghanistan through Islam Qala border crossing in Herat on Monday, asks the de-facto government to create jobs for young people to prevent illegal immigration. “We ask the Islamic Emirate to provide people with work, and if work is provided in the country, we do not need to go abroad for employment.”

Abdullah Qayumi, the border commander of the immigration affairs at Islam Qala border crossing, says that in the last solar year, more than half a million people returned to the country from Iran voluntarily and forcibly.

He wants the Iranian government to stop the forced deportation of immigrants. “Our wish is to treat immigrants well and respect the rights of immigrants in accordance with international conventions.”

According to the statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 4.5 million Afghan refugees are now living in Iran, who have faced physical violence from time to time.