Slow paced processing of humanitarian visas leaves Afghan journalists in limbo

KABUL (SW) – After nearly three years of striving to advance their asylum cases and migrate to European countries, several Afghan journalists who relocated to Iran and Pakistan are voicing frustration over the stalled progress in their cases.

Omid Poya, an Afghan journalist in Iran, complains about the non-extension of his visa, citing unemployment and economic difficulties among journalists in the country. He adds, “There seems to be no hope for relocating journalists; it’s as if they’ve been forgotten. 80 journalists are awaiting decisions on their cases in Iran, with their visas not renewed after four extensions, which is deemed illegal and subject to prosecution.”

Sanawbar Sediqi, another Afghan journalist in Iran, remarks, “We are in dire straits; the processing of our cases is painfully slow, despite promises of six months to a year.”

Sadeq, an Afghan journalist in Pakistan, states that due to delays or stagnation in processing their cases, journalists are facing economic hardships. He adds, “Journalists are facing numerous work-related issues; they don’t let us work and say we don’t have work permits. The police are also aggressively pursuing us. 80% of migrants lack visas and cannot go outside for this reason.”

Through a statement, the Afghan Journalists Support Organization (AJSO) recently expressed concerns about the situation and challenges faced by Afghan journalists in Iran and Pakistan, describing it as disheartening.

The organization highlighted that Afghan journalists awaiting relocation to other countries are enduring economic problems and legal persecution in these countries.

In part of its statement, the organization mentioned: “Journalists residing in Iran and Pakistan, through follow-up calls with the Afghan Journalists Support Organization, have said that the process of their evacuation to Western countries has now been halted, leaving them in a precarious situation. Additionally, their residency visas have not been renewed in third countries, and they lack any form of economic or humanitarian support.”

The Afghan Journalists Support Organization urged countries and media support entities to take practical steps to rescue Afghan journalists from uncertainty in Iran and Pakistan.