In 2015 and 2016, at the height of the flow, nearly half a million Afghans in total were able to apply for asylum in Europe. With an influx of refugees and asylum seekers since 2011, the once-small operation now finds itself serving the largest… According to German law, asylum seekers suffering from mental illness should not be deported, as they are considered highly vulnerable, but Soyer says it is becoming increasingly difficult to prove that an asylum seeker falls into this category. Two years ago, Mohseni – an ethnic Hazara from Jaghori, in Afghanistan’s central Ghazni province – simply wanted to take his daughter Faisa, who was 12, to a nearby city to get medical treatment for her seizures. In November 2018, a Refugees International team sat in Ali Hekmat’s office in Kayseri, Turkey, as he told us about the harsh realities Afghan refugees face living there. Soyer is managing director of the Munich Counseling and Treatment Centre for Refugees and Torture Victims, where hundreds of Afghans are referred each year for treatment. The UNHCR estimates that 10,000 Afghans will arrive in Turkey seeking asylum this year. © UNHCR/Ivor Prickett Ahead of the summit, the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner met on Sunday with a group of 20 refugees … “My cousins got involved in the war, and they killed my uncle. Most are shackled in their seats and guarded by German police officers hired as private security to accompany them on the flights. Under the administration of the governorships, the Social Assistance and Solidarity … In 2003, Iran began requiring all Afghan refugees to register for a protected status in exchange for restrictions on where they could work, live and attend school, or face deportation. Life in Iran seemed promising at first, Yakoubi says. Fewer and fewer applications are being approved as well. UNHCR Representation in Turkey, Enis Behic Koryurek Sokak No: 15/A, ]Aziziye Mahallesi, 06550 Cankaya, Ankara, 06550 Ankara, Turkey. Serda keeps the clothes her daughter wore in a plastic bag in a closet. ▪Community-based protection: Key ways that UNHCR Iran engages with … They now live in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Mohseni and his family are among the millions of Afghans who have fled their country. Kubra Yakoubi, second from left, joins others from Afghanistan and Iran, as they attend weekly Turkish language lessons in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Simple things like enrolling in university, or using public gyms, or joining a high school indoor football team, she says, became nearly impossible. Groups there have included Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, Sudanese and other nationalities - including women, children and families, arriving in precarious conditions. By 2015, the province was a battlefield for a three-way war between ISIL (ISIS), the Taliban, and the government. This leaves irreparable harm in the lives of refugees. More support needed for refugee education in Iran UNHCR, 06 Dec 2019. They grew all over the ground where we lived.”. Bodies of ‘beaten and tortured’ Afghans recovered at Iran border, Refugees accuse Greece of pushing them back out to sea, International community urged to help Afghan refugees in Pakistan, How Afghan refugees are helping Turkey fight coronavirus. "Expanding safe and legal pathways to protection, including through resettlement, saves refugees' lives and it can also mitigate their resort to dangerous journeys by land or sea," Triggs said. Take a look around and discover what you need to know about your stay in Turkey, including where you can go to seek further assistance. A young Afghan girl at a protest against the blocking of the registration of new Afghan asylum seekers in Turkey. Each day they were allowed two hours out to visit the hospital, where Zahra had slipped into a coma. Today, a Syrian applying for asylum in Germany has a 99.8-percent chance of being accepted; more than half of Afghans, though, will have their asylum claim rejected, according to the EU’s official statistics. They threatened to kill him if they saw him again. Dear UNHCR Authorities, Afghans refugees are the third largest irregular refugee group in Turkey. Afghan refugees in Turkey find themselves unable to work legally, waiting for a call from the United Nations that never seems to come. “People are in a constant state of fear, they are not living normal lives,” Muhammad says. The law was eventually enacted but with penalties only for civil servants who help those scheduled for deportation. Dear UNHCR Authorities, Afghans refugees are the third largest irregular refugee group in Turkey. Afghan Analysts Network, Mass Deportations of Afghans from Turkey: Thousands of migrants sent back in a deportation drive, 21 June 2018. But by the time her asylum application process took off, she was over 18, and no longer part of her parents’ case. Some 477,000 Afghans returned home from Iran in 2019, 770,000 in 2018, 462,000 in 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration. “The fighting was especially bad in Mazar-i-Sharif. Hamdi Mohseni visits the grave of his daughter Zahra, in a cemetery for the unidentified and those who cannot afford a grave plot, in Van, Turkey [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Back in Van, the Mohseni family now lives surrounded by reminders of their journey. … Afghan refugees in Turkey find themselves unable to work legally, waiting for a call from the United Nations that never seems to come. Since 2002, more than 5.8 million Afghan refugees have been repatriated with the assistance of the UNHCR. Officials allege 55 migrants were forced into a river by Iran’s border guards, with some of them beaten and tortured. Originally from Afghanistan, … As such, these two countries host some 12 per cent of the global refugee population. Up to 50 per cent of Afghan refugees … According to Turkish officials, the vast majority of graves have been filled with Afghans, who for four decades have been fleeing the chaos wrought in Afghanistan by one of the world’s longest ongoing conflicts. Mohseni brings a ballpoint pen with him to trace the letters of her name in the concrete tombstone, to make sure it does not disappear among the hundreds of knee-high concrete slabs in this cemetery in Van, in the east of Turkey near the Iranian border. With Turkey financing the bulk of its refugee response, the Government called for sustained international responsibility-sharing in line with the Global Compact on Refugees, and proactively contributed to the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019. According to the UN, attacks on schools in Afghanistan tripled after 2017, nearly half of them taking place in Nangarhar province. For moreinformation, see: AIDA, Country Report Turkey, 2018 Update, March 2019. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is appealing for calm and an easing of tensions on Turkey’s borders with the European Union in light of the present increased movements of people there – including refugees and asylum-seekers. But soon after they had submitted all their documents to the embassy, a car bomb exploded there in May 2017, killing 150 people, and prompting Berlin to shut down all diplomatic missions in the country. Naiby’s father and brother in Kabul, meanwhile, applied with the German embassy there to be reunited with her mother in Germany. We speak to some of those facing impossible choices. Turkey hosts some four million refugees and asylum seekers, according to the UNHCR, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in the world. However, Amnesty International found out that refugees were forced to sign voluntary repatriation forms in Turkish which they were unable to understand. Turkey currently hosts the largest population of refugees in the world, including a growing number of Afghan refugees. … Since 2014, Turkey has been the country hosting the largest number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in the world – with the vast majority being nationals of the Syrian Arab Republic. “There is no advantage of being near the border, except the smuggling, but that brings its own problems,” says Ulgen. Before leaving Afghanistan, Naiby’s mother worked as the top official overseeing women’s prisons in Kabul. Dressed in a dark shalwar kameez, he speaks warily as he shares his story under the watchful gaze of a villager guarding him with a stick. Germany followed up by officially declaring there were “internal protection alternatives,” in Afghanistan – that Afghan cities like Kabul were safe to deport most Afghans to. Despite being born in Iran and speaking Farsi like a local, she says her hopes were dashed by a litany of laws meant to keep Afghans from settling down. Additionally4, 170,000 Afghan refugees and asylum seekers reside in Turkey, as a transit country for migratory routes to Europe5. Therefore, the stay of registered Afghan refugees … “I remember how people from all over the country came to the north to see the red tulips. “I grew up with a big question in my mind,” says Kubra Yakoubi in fluent English, “what’s the difference between us, what is a refugee, what is an Afghan girl, what are these things?”. Pakistan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Mohseni was holding four-year-old Zahra in his lap, when, somewhere near the town of Bitlis, the minivan flipped off the road. Outside are the fruit stand and the street corner where they boarded the minibus for the journey that would kill Zahra. The UN refugee agency UNHCR warned, in a statement published on Thursday, that the number of refugees resettled in 2020 would be very small compared to previous years. In 2010, refugees from Afghanistan numbered near 3,500 and made a sizable proportion of Turkey’s registered migrants. Afghan refugees represent one of the world’s largest protracted refugee population. The asylum officer, she says, “couldn’t even search on the internet for two minutes to know even where Afghanistan is, and why we left.”. In early 2019, he paid thousands of dollars to smugglers in Pakistan who led him, his 11-year-old son, and two relatives to the Pakistan-Iran border, then across Iran to the Turkish border. For the Yakoubi children, three daughters and a son, growing up in Iran brought the realisation that despite being born there, most Iranians were not ready to accept them. See more of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency on Facebook “They have been coming through here since the Soviet invasion,” he told Al Jazeera, “but in the last three years it’s become a constant flow of refugees, and we wish they did not come.”. One evening, 10 days after the accident, as Mohseni was being brought back to prison, he was told Zahra had died. Once more, Afghans are on the move, except this time Pakistan and Iran are shutting their doors on them. Over the past four decades, many have been forced from their homes to never see them again. Gulchaman Nowruzi, 65, kisses her copy of the Quran next to her husband Khodadad Yaqubi, 76, at their home in Van, Turkey, where they live with their two daughters [Oscar Durand/Al Jazeera]Yakoubi, his wife, and their infant son fled to Iran in 1981, not expecting the war to last long. 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