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Press Release

Global Refuge Urges Pakistan to Halt Afghan Deportation Campaign

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Global Refuge Staff

November 2, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2023

Contact: Tim Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org

Washington D.C. – Pakistan confirmed that officials have begun a campaign to detain and remove undocumented migrants following the expiration of a government-set deadline yesterday. The effort is poised to disproportionately impact Afghans who have found safe haven in Pakistan; according to officials, there are believed to be more than 4 million Afghans in the country – approximately 1.7 million of whom are residing without documentation.

In response to Pakistan’s push to expel Afghan refugees, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of Global Refuge, said:

“We are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of displaced Afghans residing in Pakistan as its government begins a dangerous expulsion campaign. Sending back 1.7 million individuals to Afghanistan, a country already facing immense humanitarian and human rights challenges, would be a grave violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the bedrock of international refugee protections.

Afghans who previously escaped threats from the Taliban would undoubtedly face severe consequences if forced to return. Many of the families we helped resettle here in America have family members with U.S. affiliations in Pakistan whose return to danger in Afghanistan could very well amount to a death sentence. Women and girls in particular are poised to be subjected to extreme gender-based restrictions as part of the Taliban’s efforts to erase them from public society.

We urge the Pakistani government to withdraw its deportation order effective immediately. Pakistan has been a generous host to Afghans seeking safety for generations, and it must ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect in full compliance with its international legal obligations.”

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