We have received a copy of the letter that has been written by MORR and sent to the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the letter, the MORR has requested MOFA to forward the letter to the European mission in Afghanistan and request all the European countries that deport Afghans to temporarily halt deportation to Afghanistan due to the growing violence and deteriorating security situation in the country
.This includes all the countries like Germany that deports under the JDMC, or those that deport under other tripartite or bilateral agreements. The European countries that are requested to halt deportation are Germany, Norway, Holland, France, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and the UK.MORR has requested to stop deportation from 8th of July and has requested MOFA to inform the European mission and all the countries listed above about MORR’s decision.
We will further share EU’s response to the letter. But personally, I am optimistic they will listen to MORR and stop deportation due to the current political situation and the ongoing battle between the Taliban and Afghan security forces all around Afghanistan.
AMASO supports MORR’s press statement
We at AMASO fully support MORR’s stance against no returns to Afghanistan. As a charity organization working directly with returnees, we understand that Afghanistan is going through its worst phase concerning the security situation, and therefore sending anyone back to a situation like this would put the lives of the returnees in danger. As requested by the Ministry, deportation should be halted temporarily at the moment and permanently at a later point if the situation gets worse than this.
A 92 years old Afghan woman suffering from dementia has passed away in one of the Danish detention centers in Denmark yesterday. According to our friends and activists in Denmark, the Afghan woman was in detention center for almost a year. The victim had repeatedly requested to both the detention center and Red Cross staff about the pain she was going through, but very no attention was given to her and her health.
This incident has taken place at a time when Denmark deported 5 Afghan migrants on 31st of May this year. All of those we met had claims of mistreatment by the detention guards, but one of them confirmed he was severely tortured and humiliated. These 5 Afghan migrants were kept in Ellebæk detention center. However, looking at this incident, this indicates that all the detention/deport centers in Denmark are openly mistreating to be – deportees before they are deported to their countries of origin and are violating all the international conventions, including the convention against torture.
We call on the Danish government to stop mistreating migrants who are facing deportation and respect the international conventions. We also call on the European court of justice to investigate the mistreatment by the Danish authorities and put an end to this cruelty.
Another long waiting research has been published today that focuses on the situation of Afghans deported from Sweden back to Afghanistan. The research was initiated by Delmi and funded by the European Union. In Afghanistan, AMASO has been part of conducting the researches along with Samul hall.
“To ensure enough respondents for the study Samuel Hall was helped by Abdul Ghafoor, founder and director of AMASO (Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Organisation), a civil society organisation dedicated to supporting returnees from Europe”. (p. 29).
On May 31st, Denmark deported 5 Afghan asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. All of those deported had passed several months in Ellebæk detention center. One of those deported had spent 17, 5 months in detention center and was supposed to be released after two weeks, but was deported before he could get out of the center, in accordance to the European law. The rest had spent, 16, 11, 7 and 12 months in the detention center.
We met them in our office in Kabul and provided them with relevant information and advice to help them find their ways in to the society and referred them to relevant organizations for support. However, they were all complaining a lot about the way they were treated in the center and when they were being tested for corona, or being deported to Afghanistan. They told me the police in the center would put them in to solitary confinement simply for asking a questions from them, or asking them for some help. The police would put the deportee in a solitary confinement and take them back to their room after few days.
One of the deportees said he was even afraid of asking a questions or demand something fearing he would be put in to isolation.
According to the deportees, they faced the worst mistreatment during the compulsory corona test. Since they were being deported, the police had asked the deportees for a corona test. They all said, they were forced on the ground by several policemen and a test sample was taken from their mouth by force. One of the boys said he was handcuffed and a test was taken from him. He had repeatedly requested the police to release his hands and he doesn’t need to give a corona test because he doesn’t have any symptoms, but the police hadn’t listened to any of the deportees and had forcefully taken a test.
We had a copy of the corona test for all the deportees and they all were negative.
On the day of deportation to Afghanistan, the boys were taken in to a room to wait until the plane was ready. In that room, all the other boys were free except (JOHN). So he had requested the police to release his hands too and he wouldn’t create any trouble. He had told the police it doesn’t look good for him to be handcuffed in front of 4 others facing deportation. After the police rejected his request, he said he couldn’t control his temper and started resisting and swearing at the policemen.
The police then tied his legs too, since his hand were already handcuffed. They had started using excessive force and beating John. He said, at one point all the police were sitting on the chairs in a circles and were kicking him from one to another, like they were playing football. John’s mental health situation is too bad, that he was speaking of committing suicide when I first met him after what he had faced and the overall outcome of his migration process.
Today, on 13th of June I met all the 5 deportees again. John’s mental health situation has got worse and he has lost his appetite to eat and could hardly talk due to low energy. It is hard to confirm if the mistreatment and torture has brought and physical damage to him, but this is for sure that is has brought a lot of mental damage to him. Every time, including today he talked about his time in detention, he couldn’t control his tears and starts rubbing his hands.
Europe needs to take notice of such harsh treatment in their territories and stop behaving with asylum seekers like they are something unworthy. Despite the fact that Ellebæk detention center has already been declared “unacceptable for people” by the committee called the centre at Ellebæk in North Zealand during a visit they made to the detention center last year, but seems that nothing has changed but has got worse.
Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization is organizing an online event to bring together experts and activist in the field of migration. The purpose of this event is to highlight the issues related to Afghan refugees in Europe and also bring forward the challenges those forcibly returned to Afghanistan face post return to the country. Our experts come from different backgrounds countries and have experience of working with Afghan refugees for many years.
Two of our experts will share their views and expert opinions about Europe’s behavior towards the Refugees in general and Afghan refugees in particular. They will speak about the agreements that have been signed between the EU and Afghanistan and the consequences of return to Afghanistan at this point of time. They will also provide information about new laws that are in place to help Afghan refugees get asylum in Europe. E.g. in Sweden, Afghan refugees have opportunities to get asylum through work and study. Our expert will help elaborate the options further.
Thousands of Afghans have been deported to Afghanistan over the past couple of years. Since 2016, especially after the Afghan government signed an agreement with the EU over the return of Afghans, countries like Germany and some other European and non – European countries that didn’t use to deport Afghans, started deportation to Afghanistan. After return, deportees face a range of issues from accommodation to mental health problems and a deteriorating security situation none of them are mentally ready to deal with.
Two of our experts who have been in regular contact with deportees over the past couple of years will share their experience of working with deportees and highlight the problems they face post return. They will also propose better and safer ways to help deportees.
17:00 – 17:10 Introduction by Zahra Rezaie, Monitoring Officer (AMASO)
17:10 – 17:30 Dr. Liza Schuster, Researcher and sociologist at City, University of London
17: 30 – 17: 50 Lene kjaer, Refugee Rights Activist in Denmark
17: 50 – 18:10 Karin Fradell Anter, Activist, Sweden
18: 10 – 18: 30 Abdul Ghafoor, Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Org ( AMASO ) Kabul
The event will be live broadcasted on Zoom and the Facebook page of Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organization
On 5th of April 2021, we successfully organized our 3rd psychosocial support session with 6 participants who were in need for such session. The participants were deported from various European countries such as Germany, Sweden and Norway over the past couple of years. This session was held with the support of Peace of Mind Afghanistan. Ms. Somaya Ahmadi from PoMA and Ms. Zahra Rezai from AMASO jointly led the session.
This session was focused on 3 topics to help deportees.
Types of self-awareness
positive, negative, and neutral characteristics
The sessions are designed inclusive and participatory to provide the participants with a platform where they can share their views and problems and find an answer to their questions. We are hopeful these session may reduce from the problems, tensions, anxiety and loneliness in absence a social network in Afghanistan. Most of our participants are those who do not have family and social network in Afghanistan. Through this sessions, we do not only aim to help them psychosocially, but also to provide them with platform where they can bond, share their problems and find an immediate solution.
This sessions will also help deportees make a group and help each other with the information and solutions they have about different issue they have been facing.
Mr. Ali Ahmad has recently conducted a research about the situation of those deported from Austria to Afghanistan and has interviewed a number of Afghans recently deported from Austria. In his research, the author has focused on several issues deportees face post return, such as; deteriorating security situation, importance of social network for Afghan deportees, non – availability of support assistance package for deportees from Austria and the mental health situation of those deported to Afghanistan.
More about the author;
” Ali Ahmad is a PhD candidate at the Department for Migration and Globalisation at the Danube University Krems (DUK). He received his Master‘s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the European Peace University (EPU). Ahmad has been working as a consultant for the VIDC since 2015 and has written research papers on Afghan refugees and diaspora communities in Europe. His most recent study for VIDC, „A Guide to Afghan Diaspora Engagement in Europe“, was published in March 2020. As a trained doctor, he has also worked in various international research and media organisations and has published extensively on political, security and social issues in Afghanistan. His research areas include migration, diaspora, labour market and non-state security actors in Afghanistan.”
The author has interviewed 16 returnees, 3 out of the rest interviewed for the research had chosen to return ‘voluntarily’ and the remaining 13 were forcibly deported to Afghanistan. The author’s finding indicates that the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and has deemed Afghanistan as ” A NOT SAFE COUNTRY ” in the recommendation part of the research. However, a more strong recommendation highlighting some of the recent techniques, such as targeted killing and magnetic bombs the Taliban are using to target civilians and the human rights activists and journalists would have been more effective in terms of portraying the very recent and changing dynamic of the security situation in the country.
Author’s recommendation ;
“Afghanistan is not a safe country
The Afghan government has failed to protect its citizen throughout the years, and it continues to be unable to provide protection to returnees from Europe. The Taliban control more territory in Afghanistan than any time since they were ousted from power in 2001. Consequently, no place in Afghanistan is safe for returnees, and Austria should immediately halt the deportation of Afghans to Afghanistan, irrespective of the JWF agreement. Furthermore, the asylum decisions by the Austrian government regarding Afghan asylum seekers should reflect the reality of Afghanistan’s security situation for fleeing Afghans. Additionally, the Austrian government should reconsider ‘returning’ to Afghanistan Afghans, who were born, or had lived all their lives, in a different country. Their personal security is even more at risk, due to their lack of knowledge of the country and an absence of a social, professional and tribal network to provide protection and access to the labor market.”
In his second recommendation, the author has recommended to give the asylum seekers access to labor market in Austria. He has then recommended to give access to labor market so that to be – returnees can then utilize the skills, when they are deported to Afghanistan. I would have loved if the author had recommended to give the asylum seekers access to labor market so that they could find another reason to stay in Austria, through work, or study, not that it will be helpful for them post deportation. My personal experience of working with hundreds of deportees/returnees over the past several years shows that the skills asylum seekers learn in the host countries have rarely been useful back in the country. The main reason they are not implementable post return is due to the difference in the job systems of both Europe and Afghanistan. In Europe, most of the work is done with the help of machineries, but in Afghanistan people still use the old techniques and main power, instead of machines.
Author’s recommendation :
“Allow asylum seekers access to the labor market in Austria
Granting asylum seekers access to the labor market, educational system and socio-political life in Austria would allow Afghan returnees to utilize their skills and experience in Afghanistan. It would also minimize the economic and psycho-social pressure on returnees. The psycho-social pressure often distances an already dwindled social network, further lowering the changes of returnees finding employment and thus triggering re-migration”
In his third recommendation, the author has concluded his research by recommending to provide support system for deportees from Austria. Austria is one of the few European countries that has no support package for those who are deported forcefully to Afghanistan. Only those who chose to return voluntarily receive a limited amount of support from IOM, the rest end up with no support at all, except for the 12500 Afs immediate cash assistance that provided at Kabul International Airport, to all of those who are deported forcefully using charter planes. The author has rightfully pointed out, that non – availability of any support package or system makes re – integration much more difficult for deportees.
Author’s recommendation ;
” Currently, the Afghan government is unable to provide effective assistance to returnees in general, and from Austria in particular. International organizations target particular groups. For instance, the UNHCR supports the more than four million Internally displaced people (IDPs) in over-crowed camps in Afghanistan. While many returnees become IDPs due to their inability to return to their district of origin, they do not receive specialized support. The IOM does support returnees with an assistance package, but only those who return ‘voluntarily’. However, as this study shows, those that do so, have a social, tribal and professional network that remained intact during their absence. The IOM assistance package did not help the ‘voluntary’ returnees to reintegrate into the Afghan society or return to the labor market. None of the deportees were assisted by IOM. However, it is those, who were returned forcefully that are most in need of reintegration support. A reintegration support system needs to be developed to assist all types of returnees to reintegrate into the Afghan labor market, thereby minimizing the chances of re-migration. This is the job for, not only the Afghan government, but also the deporting country – such as Austria, – with the assistance of international institutions and local organizations, together with the Afghan diaspora organizations in Austria.“
This research has been conducted at a time when European countries are preparing to double the number of deportations to Afghanistan sidelining the actual truth on the ground. Therefore, it is important that this kind of researches are conducted by other researchers and individuals to, hoping this will portray the reality of what happens to those who are deported to Afghanistan and highlight their situation post return.
One 28th of February 2021, we held our second psychosocial support session for a number of deportees who were in need of such sessions. This session was also organized in cooperation with Peace of Mind Afghanistan and led by one its psychologists Ms. Sumaya Ahmadi.
From the feedback we received from our last session, this time we focused only on one topic to make sure there is an equal participation of all the participants and only one matter is dealt during each session. This time we only focused on how to reduce anxiety and stress for those of the deportees who are suffering from anxiety and stress. For this purpose, handouts translated in to Dari was handed over to the participants to make sure they understand the language and deal with stress in the light of the guidance that is provided to them in the handouts.
The participants of these sessions were mainly those who are in desperate need of psychosocial support due to the experience they have while they were in Europe, and the problems and isolation they have faced post deportation to Afghanistan. After we received the feedback from the participants, one of them was hopeful these sessions may help him with the stress he is going through right now.
“Thanks for organizing these session, it has been very helpful for me to communicate with other deportees and find a common ground to share our stories and find relevant advice and support from the psychologist running the sessions”
Another participant who hasn’t been in the previous sessions has been participating in several sessions with other organizations since his return to Afghanistan. He has had suicide tendencies and has been suffering from severe depression and stress. He also found out the sessions helpful and shared his views and appreciations for organizing further sessions. We will follow – up his case further and try to help him with one to one meetings, if needed.
Due to repeated requests from deportees seeking psychosocial support in Afghanistan, AMASO organized a session with the support of Peace of Mind Afghanistan (PoMA) to help reduce the problems of the deportees/returnees related to stress, isolation, lack of self-esteem and improve their mental health situation to have a normal life post return to Afghanistan. Ms Lyla, the founder and director of PoMA carried out the first of many sessions we have will regularly organized for those in need.
Some of the participants were those who have been deported to Afghanistan over the past several year and some have recently been deported to Afghanistan. The participants were deported from Germany and Sweden mainly. This sessions was also an opportunity to provide those without social networks in Afghanistan with a platform to share their ideas and help each other with their experience of survival in Afghanistan. One thing that was common among all of the participants was that those without social networks had found it much more difficult to re – integrate than those who have had their acquaintances in Afghanistan aftery they were returned.
” My family is not in Afghanistan, i live at a relative’s home and do not have any friend, and no where to go. Each morning when i wake, my biggest tension is how to end the day. I have been looking for job opportunities, but since i don’t know many people in Afghanistan, i have failed to find a mean of suvival”
Above is the statement of one of the deportees who has been deported from Germany in April 2019 . Another participant, who has recently been deported from Germany has the same situation. His family is in Greece and he has been deported from Germany to Afghanistan, where he knows no one. He doesn’t have a place to stay and often ends up in mosques due to lack of an accommodation.
Lyla also explained during her session about the nature of the support available and explained on what level psychosocial support can help deportees get back to normal. She said; psychologists cannot solve all the problem but can try to make the beneficiary feel better and decrease the level of their depression. She explained two types of problems. The first, problems which are under control and the second, problems that are out of control. Some of the problems that deportees mentioned as security, job, housing are not under our control, thinking about them is just wasting the time and energy because we cannot solve them at all. But we can manage this type of problems like isolation, depression, sleeping, adjusting as they are controllable. She said: “the first exercise is to classify problems and try to think and work on those which are related to each one personally.
Lyla suggested that the participants should try to socialize and talk to someone about their situation, if listener cannot realize their feeling, it is not important because keeping feelings and concerns make them isolated which will affect them negatively. That was also one of the main intentions of the session organized. We have been contacted by deportees who are in severe isolation and start the use of drugs, in order to reduce the level of their anxiety and depression.
In a continuation of our campaign to help deportees using their skills and provide them a platform to be able to showcase their talents and find a way for survival, today we are introducing another deportee. All those deported to Afghanistan receive very little support from the NGOs, which often takes months of paperwork and waiting, and no support from the Afghan government. This leaves them in a very tough situation in Kabul, where the security situation is deteriorating every passing day, and the only chance of survival is having network and power. Since the deportees have very limited network who could help them find work or any other means of survival, they mostly rely on support from their friends in the countries they have been deported from.
Often, the support by the activists ends within few months of their return, because they are short term and doesn’t continue for too long. Therefore, there is very limited long term solution to the situation of the deportees. Like many other activists, AMASO has been among very few organizations that has direct contact with deportees and has been helping many for the past 6 years. We have helped a number of most vulnerable deportees with temporary accommodation, educational support, advice and counselling and other practical support.
This time, we want to use our platform to initiate this campaign and help those of the deportees who think they have a skill and need a platform. We hope we can bring their talent, skills to our followers, friends and activists to help the deportees. We also encourage all our friends and the friends of the Afghan refugees to take part in this initiative and help the deportees.
M. Ali Qasimi
Qasimi was deported from Sweden to Afghanistan on 28 – 9 – 2019. More than one year of his deportation to Afghanistan, he hasn’t yet been able to find a way of survival. He lives at a small house along with two other deportees from Sweden, which is funded by some activists from Sweden. Since the support is not enough for them to survive in Kabul, Qasimi is using his time to paint. AMASO want to help him spread his work and potentially find buyers who would love to buy one of the paintings to help Qasimi with his talent and skill.
If you want to support him, you can buy one of his paintings. His paintings are listed as below along with the prices ( including the shipment ).
Those 20×30 prices are 50$ Those 30×40 prices are 100$ Those 60×80 prices are 200$
Here is a latest story on the Guardian UK about the situation of those deported to Afghanistan. Nabi and his friends have also been interviewed.
If you are interested to buy a painting and help Qasimi. You can use the WhatsApp button on our Facebook page and we will organize to send the painting with coordination of M . Ali Qasimi.