Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Greek asylum procedures are violating EU law, say organisations from across Europe

Posted by clandestina on 13 November 2009


Greek asylum procedures are violating EU law, say organisations from across Europe

13 November 2009

Refugee groups from across the EU, including the Refugee Council, have today filed a complaint with the European Commission stating that the Greek asylum system is failing and, as it currently stands, violates EU legislation on the treatment of asylum seekers.

The complaint states that asylum seekers in Greece are detained in overcrowded, dirty prisons or forced to live on the streets where many of them face harassment and violence. Asylum application can only be made on Saturdays at the police station in Athens. Every week thousands of asylum seekers queue up outside the station, yet only a small number are able to make a claim. There is a severe lack of information available about the asylum process, no interpreters and little access to legal aid. A serious shortage of accommodation means men, women and children are being left street homeless. And there is a serious risk that many refugees will end up being sent back either over the border to Turkey or to their home country to face the persecution from which they were fleeing, violating the terms of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Because of its geographical position, Greece receives a high number of asylum seekers. Each year tens of thousands of asylum seekers arrive in Greece. On top of this, the UK returns refugees who arrive in the UK to Greece without considering their asylum application if it can be shown that they have passed through the country.

Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy and Development said:

“The situation is untenable. We can no longer stand by while the Greek authorities continue to violate EU law and treat asylum seekers in this way. Until the asylum process is accessible and fair we should halt all returns to Greece immediately. It is unacceptable that anyone should be sent back to Greece while we have such serious concerns for their safety and how they might be treated.

“This is yet another example of why we need a pan-European approach towards those who seek refuge in Europe. European countries need to work together to ensure that each country does its fair share to relieve the pressure on countries close to the borders and ensure that all asylum seekers to the EU are treated fairly and humanely.”

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UK: Refugee and Migrant Justice Lawyers call on the UK Government to stop removing asylum-seekers to Greece

Posted by clandestina on 10 November 2009


10 November 2009

RMJ asks UK to stop removing asylum-seekers to Greece, following international complaint to European Commission against Greece

Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ) today calls on the UK Government to stop removing asylum-seekers to Greece until conditions there improve.

Fifteen European refugee NGOs, led by Refugee and Migrant Justice and the Dutch Refugee Council, are calling for the Greek Government’s treatment of asylum-seekers to be referred to the European Court of Justice. The complaint will be presented to the European Commission today, 10 November, and will be heard at the end of November 2009.

Many asylum-seekers travel by sea to Greece. The Greek authorities often try to prevent them from entering Greek territory by turning boats back at sea or sometimes puncturing inflatable rafts. Life threatening situations have occurred in the process. When asylum-seekers do make it to Greek territory, many of them are detained upon arrival. Conditions in some of the detention centres are appalling – most of them are warehouses that are severely overcrowded and lack adequate sanitation and cooking facilities.

There is a severe shortage of reception facilities and no specialist social care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Many migrants end up sleeping rough where they often experience ill-health.

The Greek authorities make it very difficult for asylum seekers to gain access to the Greek asylum procedures, a clear violation of EC law, as well as international human rights instruments. In 2008 22,100 asylum applications were lodged in Greece, yet less than one per cent of asylum applicants were granted refugee status or other forms of protection, compared with 31 per cent in the UK.

The Greek authorities regularly deport asylum-seekers back to Turkey from where they may be removed to their countries of origin.

Caroline Slocock, Chief Executive of Refugee and Migrant Justice, says

“The inhumane conditions facing asylum-seekers in Greece are a scandal. Greece’s system is not just unfair to asylum seekers, it places unreasonable burdens on other European countries, like the UK, that have more respect for European and international obligations to identify and protect those who fear persecution.. . Many asylum-seekers end up travelling across Europe to France and the UK because they cannot get a fair hearing in Greece. We are appealing to the European Commission to put this right but in the meantime the UK Government should stop returning asylum-seekers to Greece under EU laws, as their safety cannot be guaranteed.”

Case studies

RMJ has collated witness statements of asylum-seekers who have come to the UK via Greece…


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No Deportations to Baghdad campaigns

Posted by clandestina on 16 October 2009


No Deportations to Baghdad

On Thursday, 15. Oct 2009, early morning, a specially chartered plane provided by Air Italy deported 39 people from London to Baghdad. Activists call for a demonstration on Saturday and a campaign against Air Italy.

Message from the campaigning group Stop Deportation

The first deportation to Baghdad deported around forty people early on Thursday the 15th October on a specially chartered plane provided by Air Italy. This marks a shift in government policy which since 2005 has sent people back to Iraqi Kurdistan but not to Iraq. Now they have begun, deportations to Iraq are sure to continue putting the lives of many in danger.

Demonstrate on Saturday to build
resistance to deportations to Iraq!
Saturday 17 October 2009, 2pm
Parliament Square, London

Deporting people to a war zone like Iraq puts the lives of many deportees at risk. As recently as the 11th October, three car bombs exploded in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, killing at least 19 people. Violence and bloodshed continue throughout the country, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year alone. There are also widespread food shortages, lack of access to clean drinking water and other grave humanitarian crises in many areas.

The British government, through its participation in the war on and occupation of Iraq since 2003, is responsible for these crises and the consequent displacement of millions of Iraqis. Instead of helping accommodate refugees fleeing war and violence, it is now sending them back en masse to face their possible death. Charter flight deportations in particular limit detainees legal recourse and are especially violent – see :: for more information.

We call upon all groups, organisations and individuals opposed to this brutal action by the UK government to stand with us in calling for all deportations to Iraq to be stopped. Join us to demonstrate against mass deportations to Iraq this Saturday the 17th October, at 2pm, at Parliament Square.

If you would like to add your or your organisation’s name to a :: statement against deportations to Iraq, or for any further information, please emailstopdeportation (at)

Campaign Against Air Italy

Air Italy was involved in the forcible removal by a charter flight leased to UK Border Agency of 39 Iraqi’s who had sought asylum in the UK, to an unknown destination in Iraq on Wednesday 14th October from Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom.

The :: National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns call for protests against the deportation airline. :: Details and model letter here.

print version

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BBC journalist on Samos, immigrants in Greece and the UK

Posted by clandestina on 15 October 2009

original article at

Greece’s immigrants in limbo

by Gavin Hewitt

Thursday, 15 October 2009

at BBC

photo appeared on the original article

photo appeared on the original article

On a hill above the town of Samos in eastern Greece are a series of long buildings with grey walls and red roofs. They could be a barracks but this is a detention centre for immigrants. It was built to hold 300 people. Today, 473 are held there. Fifty-three are women and 10 are under the age of 18. They live behind barbed wire and wait. They stay for between one and three months, their frustration gnawing away at them. These are people who have made long, often dangerous journeys to reach the shores of Europe.

Within minutes of us starting to film through the wire a young man in a red football shirt detached himself from a group and shouted out to us. Clinging to the wire fence he said he was from Somalia but looked as if he had come from West Africa. He demands to know why he is being locked up. “Why?” he pleads with me. In a refugee centre in town someone has written on a wall: “They don’t let us come. They don’t let us stay. They don’t let us go.”

A few claim asylum but that is no longer a popular option. It can tie up a migrant for months. In Greece only 0.1% of asylum seekers are successful compared to 76% in Finland.

The common story is that after a month or so they are transferred to a detention centre elsewhere in Greece. They are eventually freed and told they must leave the country within a month. The vast majority head west to other European destinations.

The UK remains the favourite country. In London they can find their own community which will provide them with work often in the underground economy. It is an abiding belief that the British will eventually allow them to stay. There is another factor that drives them west: Money. Those from Afghanistan are often in the hands of powerful and dangerous traffickers. Some in the camp here in Samos say that it costs the equivalent of £16,000 to get from Afghanistan to Britain.

Often their families back home have sold houses to pay the people smugglers. Some will have to pay the networks from whatever they earn in London or other European cities. Without work they and their families are at risk from the traffickers. They owe a debt and will not be deterred by officials or laws. One lawyer looked at this camp and said there could be £4m of business right there.

The Greeks know that they are, in effect, just passing on the problem but, in their view, they are overwhelmed. They want the rest of Europe to start taking a share of those who arrive on Greek shores. That is unlikely to happen soon. It is difficult for any country to take a quota of immigrants determined by others. In any event some fear that a quota system would only encourage others to head to Europe.

Immigration is a major issue for the European Union. The current plan is called the Stockholm programme and the aim is to have it approved by the end of the year. The

intention is to beef up border patrols by giving more money to Frontex, the relatively new body that operates planes and ships.

Certainly here in Greece there is little evidence that Frontex patrols have a deterrent effect. The traffickers tell the migrants that if a Frontex boat appears to jump in the water and they’ll have to rescue you.

Measures are being considered to make it harder to grant mass amnesties for illegal migrants but that leaves open the question of what should be done with them. The EU is also working on what it calls a “Return Directive”. It is expected to become law by December 2010 and is supposed to make it easier to send home illegal immigrants but the law only applies once a decision has been taken to deport an immigrant.

The UK has opted out of this. If it is intended to deter migrants it is unlikely to be successful. Detainees will have the right to appeal against deportation, to see legal advisers, family members and get medical attention.

It is a directive that will provide a lot of work for lawyers. It is the view of the UK that it could make returning illegal immigrants more difficult because detainees will have more power to challenge deportation.

When economies were growing fast and there were gaps in the labour markets some countries were relatively relaxed about these arrivals but with 22 million people out of work across the EU the mood is changing. There were 238,000 asylum applications last year and just over a third were approved. As to the number of illegal immigrants no one knows. There may be a decline in those trying to get to Malta or Italy from Africa. This is partly because of an agreement with Libya to restrict the crossings. But the numbers have edged up in Greece and Southern Spain.

The reality is that in the midst of a severe recession the migrants have not been deterred. Many fear for their lives if they return home owning money. Currently there is no common European approach to this problem. There are moves and initiatives but, for the time being, Europe is like a trip wire. It makes live difficult for the migrants but it does not seriously put them off coming and neither does it help them settle.

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Human Rights Watch: Don’t Return Calais Migrants to Greece

Posted by clandestina on 26 September 2009

source: human rights watch website

EU Asylum Disparities Put Those Sent Back at Risk of Mistreatment

SEPTEMBER 25, 2009

(Paris) – Many of the hundreds of migrants arrested by French authorities following the destruction of their makeshift camp in Calais are at risk of being sent back to Greece, Human Rights Watch said today.

The French police reportedly arrested 276 migrants, including 125 children, on September 22, 2009, and destroyed their makeshift camp. The French immigration minister said several months ago that many asylum seekers entered through Greece and should be returned there. The New York Times, reporting on the situation, cited remarks by French officials that those who had entered the European Union through Greece would be returned there. The UK’s home secretary is quoted in The Guardian expressing his “delight” at the Calais operation and saying that the migrants there could seek asylum in the first country they entered, meaning that many are likely to be returned to Greece.

“France, the UK, and the rest of Europe act as if everything is perfectly fine in Greece,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch. “But Greece denies 99.5 percent of all asylum claims, has recently eliminated its appeals procedure, and detains migrants in deplorable conditions.”

Human Rights Watch said that France and the UK should ensure that any children among those removed who have family members in the UK, including siblings and other close relatives, are able to join them on humanitarian grounds.

Under the European Union’s Dublin II regulations, the country where a person first entered the EU is generally held responsible for examining that person’s asylum claim, whether or not the person applied there. European governments enter the fingerprints of all migrants they apprehend into an EU-wide database that allows other governments to trace where a person first entered the EU and to send that person back.

While the Dublin II regulations are premised on the notion that all EU member states have comparable asylum and migration practices, there are wide disparities, with some countries like Greece effectively offering no protection at all. This disparity underscores the importance of reforming the Dublin system and ensuring that EU member states are held to account for their failure to respect their obligations under EU law to provide access to asylum.

Human Rights Watch has called on European governments, in two reports released in 2008, to stop sending migrants and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, back to Greece under the Dublin II regulations. The reports said that Greece fails to guarantee a fair assessment of asylum claims, continues to detain migrants and asylum seekers in conditions that can be inhuman and degrading, and has not provided adequate reception conditions for migrants, or special protection for vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied migrant children. Greece also adopted a law in July abolishing ameaningful appeals procedure. The new law leaves asylum seekers with no right to an appeal or remedy against risk of removal to inhuman or degrading treatment, as required by article 39 of the EU’s procedures directive and articles 13 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Asylum seekers whose claim has been rejected are at risk of being immediately deported.

Concerns are further heightened, Human Rights Watch said, due to Greece’s recent arrests of large numbers of asylum seekers and their transfer to detention centers in the north, close to the Turkish border, where some are reported to have been pushed across the border back to Turkey. Greece has a record of systematically pushing migrants back to Turkey, including those seeking protection.

On August 5, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Greek interior minister asking him to take immediate steps to stop this practice and to treat migrants apprehended in Greek territory in a humane and dignified manner.

In a November 2008 report, “Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union,” Human Rights Watch documented how Greek authorities have systematically expelled migrants illegally across the Greece-Turkey border, in violation of international law. These “pushbacks” typically occur at night from the northern detention facilities, and they involve considerable logistical preparation. At that time, Human Rights Watch conducted private, confidential interviews in various locations in both Greece and Turkey with 41 asylum seekers and refugees, who gave consistent accounts of Greek authorities taking them to the Evros river at night and then forcing them across.

France and other EU member states are bound under the European Convention on Human Rights not to return a person to a country where he or she is at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3) and bound by the international legal principle of nonrefoulement. The Dublin Convention allows parties to exercise their discretion under article 3 (2) (the sovereignty clause) not to return an asylum seeker and to examine the asylum claim themselves.

“It is hard not to have the impression that European governments are perfectly happy with Greece doing the dirty work for them and giving them the opportunity to get rid of these migrants, including potential refugees,” Frelick said. “Instead of sending them back to Greece, French authorities should ensure these migrants have the chance to apply for asylum in France.”

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A protest letter from British academic members regarding the recent attack on refugee camp in Patras Greece

Posted by clandestina on 22 July 2009


We are concerned about the British media silence regarding the recent attack on a refugee camp in Patras Greece as a reflection of the idea of Fortress Europe.

As trade unionists and academics who research issues of human rights and social inequality we strongly condemn the recent use of violence against migrants in Patras, Greece.

Greece has been repeatedly condemned by international organisations over maltreatment of migrants and asylum seekers. In recent weeks we have witnessed further demonisation and victimisation of migrants and asylum seekers. Punitive police operations are presented as the answer and the authorities fuel the media with xenophobic rhetoric and images. As a result there is a dramatic increase in cases of brutality against migrants. The authorities not only seem to tolerate attacks of fascist groups on individuals and families, but also orchestrated a brutal and unlawful operation against the refugee camp in Patras.

Thousands of migrants have been living in this makeshift camp for over the last eight years without any support and protection from the Greek state. The Greek authorities made it impossible for most of them even to apply for asylum, by not providing access to the necessary services. During this period the migrants were systematically harassed by the police and coast guard and were labeled as “clandestines”. Nevertheless, nothing could prepare the local community of Parts and the groups of citizens who voluntarily support the migrants, for what was about to happen last week.

In the early hours of Sunday 12/7/2009 and without any previous warning, hundreds of fully armed riot police engaged in an inhuman and appalling operation. As the UNHCR, International Human Rights Organsations and local support groups highlight, major streets were blocked and access to the area was banned. The state authorities, arrested hundreds of migrants, demolished and burned down the makeshift accommodation, including personal belongings, travel documents and the camp mosque. The migrants who had travel documents were temporarily directed to a local hotel. The rest of them were arrested and there seems to be no further information concerning their whereabouts. It is highly likely that a number of unaccompanied minors were among the group, as the decision on who was minor solely lied upon the “judgment” of riot police during this inhuman operation. We also express our concern about the possibility of forcible repatriation of the migrants to Afghanistan.

For the lucky ones who escaped arrest things are not any better. Without any facilities to offer protection and support, hundreds of migrants live dispersed and terrorized in the city centre without being able to meet their very basic human needs.

We demand answers to the following questions

  • The operation lacked any legal, ethical and moral basis. Who decided it?
  • Why did the operation take place without any previous warning and most importantly without ensuring that access to other reception facilities would be available?
  • How many migrants were arrested and where exactly are they being detained?
  • How did they ensure that unaccompanied minors were not maltreated and abused?
  • Why migrants were not offered an opportunity to apply for asylum?
  • Are there plans to forcibly repatriate them without any prior access to the asylum process?
  • Will Greece keep tolerating the racist and xenophobic attacks against migrants and their families?

In the absence of an official answer we reserve our right to visit the area and make use of any means at our disposal to ensure that the authorities and individuals involved will be held accountable of their actions.

Prof. Alex Callinicos, Kings College London

Dr. Karen Evans, University of Liverpool

Dr. Iain Ferguson, University of Stirling

Prof. Emer. Chris Jones, University of Liverpool

Dr. Vasilios Ioakimidis, Liverpool Hope University

Dr. Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University

Mr. Peter Marsden Blackpool Local Government Unison (personal capacity)

Mrs. Julia Orry, Blackpool Branch Secretary (personal capacity).

Mrs. Laura Penkenth, University of Manchester

For more information please contact Dr. Vasilios Ioakimidis:,


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Emigrating Afghans: no crisis in the smuggling business in a destroyed country

Posted by clandestina on 5 July 2009


Afghans Flee Hell at Home & Newspapers

CAIRO — Many Afghans, young and old, are forking over their life savings to be smuggled into Europe in pursuit of a better life away from the death and destruction plaguing their county.

“People can’t find jobs here,” Abdul Ahad, 26, told the New York Times on Sunday, July 5.

“And if you go to a place where there’s work, you’ll be killed in a week.”

Abdul Ahad was laid off from his full-time driving job and forced to take the only work he could find: a once-a-week driving gig through a dangerous Kabul territory.

In the past eight months, a suicide bomb and a firefight nearly took his life.

“I’m desperate.”

He began scouting potential smugglers to take him elsewhere in the world, where he hopes to find a life.

“It’s not a big dream. I just want to finish my studies and live normally.”

He is one of many Afghans who gave up hope after years of war, death and poverty, losing faith in their shaky government.

“We’ve got a president called Hamid Karzai who has done nothing for Afghan people,” fumes Shuja Halimi, a Kabul resident with three children.

Eight years on after the US invasion, Afghanistan is so destitute and undeveloped that most inhabitants have no central heating, electricity or running water.

According to aid agencies, violence has surged over the last three years with more than 2,500 people killed until the first six months of 2008.

Lesser Evil

Afghan smugglers say the number of “clients” is up 60 percent from last year and business is so thriving that they even turned away some customers.

“It’s out of my power to deal with the demand,” one smuggler in Kabul told the NY Times.

“I never imagined it would get like this.”

The most common route for smuggling Afghans is by road from Iran via Turkey to Greece and costs around $16,000.

Once in Europe, Afghans apply for asylum most often in the United Kingdom, Greece and Italy.

Last year, about 18,000 Afghans applied for asylum in Europe, a figure nearly double the 2007 total.

But immigration experts affirm that Afghans do not often find a better life outside their country.

In France, for example, an immigration detention complex dubbed the Jungle is keeping about 600 Afghans in conditions that are “very, very bad,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy of the International Organization for Migration in Geneva.

Halimi, the Kabul father, has a personal experience.

He was deported from the UK after a two-month journey across 12 countries, including Bulgaria, where he says he eluded gunfire at the border.

He insists that while living conditions in Europe were awful, but not as bad as in Afghanistan.

That’s precisely why many war-weary Afghans prefer the struggle abroad to the at home.

Akbar Khan, who was among 30 young Afghans returned from England recently, is one of them

But despite the struggle he endured, he is vowing to try again.

“We’ll try to go back in about a month after we save some money.”

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Emigrating Afghans…

Posted by clandestina on 4 June 2009

This is a report on the increase in the rates of immigration from Afghanistan, after so many years of humanistic war.  This is also about the effects that Fortress Europe on the victims of this war: they have to pay much more to smugglers to tranfer them to the west (source).

AFGHANISTAN: Sharp rise in attempted illegal migration to Europe

KABUL, 4 June 2009 (IRIN) – Azizullah Ahmadi told IRIN in Kabul how his son Majid, aged 25, paid US$10,000 to a smuggler to take him to a European country where he wanted to start a better life. But his son drowned in the Mediterranean before reaching Greece in 2008.

“He was very disappointed here [in Afghanistan] and believed Europe would give him a prosperous life,” Ahmadi said, adding that his son had borrowed a lot of money for the trip.

Facing unemployment, insecurity and lack of socio-economic opportunities at home, many Afghans, mostly young males, have increasingly resorted to costly and perilous illegal migration to European and other industrialized countries.

Over 18,000 Afghan asylum-seekers were registered in 44 industrialized states in 2008 – a significant increase on previous years, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

“With 18,500 asylum applications submitted by Afghans in 2008, the number is at its highest since 2002 [29,400] and is almost double the figure of the year before [10,000],” said a UNHCR report entitled Asylum levels and trends in industrialized countries in 2008.

“The deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan is likely to be the main reason, along with lack of economic opportunities,” Ron Redmond, a UNHCR spokesman in Geneva, told IRIN.

Some 80,000-85,000 Afghans applied for asylum in 2000-2001 but their numbers dropped significantly after a new US-backed government, which had inspired hope for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, was established in 2002.

Smuggling by air – more expensive

Illegal migration and human trafficking from the least developed countries to Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia have become more and more difficult and costly in the past seven years, largely because of stringent border controls.

“Before 9/11 smugglers were taking people by air to any European country for $8,000-10,000, but now prices have increased to $25,000-30,000 per person,” said Naqibullah (who only gave his first name), a local travel agent who also acts as an agent for illegal migrants.

However, nothing seems to be deterring some Afghans, mostly young males, who still pay thousands of dollars to smugglers and/or take the riskiest routes to get to their sought-after destinations.

On 29 May a ship carrying over a dozen of Afghan migrants from Indonesia to Australia capsized near Sumatra. Nine passengers were killed and 11 others were missing, Associated Press reported.

Migrants face trials and tribulations of all kinds: Some end up in prisons and/or border detention centres and reportedly have experienced serious physical and mental violence.

Popular destinations

The UK appeared to be the most popular European Union (EU) destination, with 3,730 Afghan applicants seeking asylum in 2008, according to the Statistical Office of the European Commission. Turkey, Italy and Greece were the next most popular, according to the UNHCR report on asylum levels in industrialized countries.

About 12,600 Afghans sought asylum in EU countries in 2008 – the fifth largest group after Iraqis, Russians, Somalis and Serbs.

By contrast, the USA only had 72 Afghan asylum-seekers in 2008. Fewer still migrated illegally to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, apparently because of the cost of getting there (about $35,000 to fly to Canada) and/or geography.

Plea not to deport Afghans

It is unclear how many of the 18,500 Afghan asylum-seekers were granted protection in developed countries in 2008.

However, of the 240,000 asylum applicants (5 percent of them Afghans) registered in 27 EU member countries in 2008, at least 141,730 (73 percent) were rejected and only 24,425 applicants (13 percent) were granted refugee status, according to a statement by the Statistical Office of the European Commission.

At least 560 Afghans whose asylum applications were rejected in EU member countries were forced back to Afghanistan in 2008, according to the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees (MoRR). In addition, over 545 unsuccessful applicants voluntarily returned to Afghanistan from the EU last year.

“The situation in Afghanistan is not suitable and we call on European and other countries not to forcefully deport Afghan refugees,” Noor Mohammad Haidari, a senior MoRR adviser, told IRIN, adding that the government had requested all host countries to treat Afghans based on the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

MoRR estimates about 500,000 Afghan refugees live in EU countries and over three million in Pakistan and Iran.

Below is a report on the country’s economic situation some months ago (before the harsch winter).  source

Afghanistan: 20 Million People Under the Line of Poverty

Official statistics show that Afghanistan has the highest level of poverty among the South-Asian countries.Afghanistan is now one of the poorest countries on the planet. It takes its place among desperate, destitute nations like Burkina Faso and Somalia whenever any international organization bothers to measure. The official unemployment rate, last calculated in 2005, was 40% percent.

On the basis of the official statistics, the level of poverty in Afghanistan is thirty to forty percent and around 20 million of Afghanistan are living under the line of poverty.

According to recent estimates, it may today reach as high as 80% in some parts of the country.The UN has named the 17th of October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Different organizations hold programs every year to put an end to poverty in the world.

But the government of Afghanistan, despite the support of the International Community, has not been able to do something considerable for decreasing poverty.

Governmental authorities say that the shortage of food on one hand and drought in the past few years in several regions of Afghanistan on the other hand, have increased the intensity of poverty in Afghanistan.

“Urgent need for food”

Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the United Nations mission in Kabul, says that presently millions of people all over Afghanistan are in urgent need of food.

As said by Mr. Edwards, “The human conditions in Afghanistan are very serious. Continuous insecurity, drought and booming food prices on the world level are the main cause for the emergence of this situation but the condition in the future months is not tangible. There is no doubt that people are in dire need of food.”

Authorities in Afghanistan say that measures have been taken to prevent the spreading out of poverty in the country but according to experts these measures have not been effective.

Experts say that the absence of a proper program regarding the prevention of poverty and lack of attention to the superstructure of past years have brought about poverty and unemployment to many Afghans.

The tension for the rise of poverty in Afghanistan has increased in circumstances where drought and unemployment have greatly affected the lives of the people and have created scores of problems for them.

The coming of the winter season has concerned many people in this country.

Abdul Jamil, one of the residents of Kabul said that he has no job and that the approaching winter has greatly worried him.

Baz Mohammad, an employee of the National Bank of Afghanistan said that his monthly earnings is not enough for the expenses of his family and doesn’t know how he will overcome the difficulties of the cold in the winter.

This year the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is being celebrated with the slogan of “Stand Up and Take Action against Poverty”. Different sources agree that the abolishment of poverty needs the united struggle of all the poor as well as rich countries of the world.

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