Kids to Kabul

One of the big stories of the day has been the revelation that the UK government plans to return Afghan child asylum-seekers to Kabul, via a £4m “rehabilitation centre” that it plans to build.

It’s a worrying idea. You only have to look at the news reports to see how dangerous Afghanistan remains. Not only will the lives of those young people who’re returned be put in danger, but a precedent will be set if this goes ahead that’s sure to mean other countries following suit.

Every day there are fresh waves of violence and criminality in Afghanistan, and at Amnesty we’re still receiving reports of families being forced to provide fighters for the Taliban.

I’d be interested to see the information on which this decision – that it’s safe to send kids back to Kabul – was made. It certainly conflicts with the assessments made by Amnesty International and many other human rights organisations.

And the decision may well backfire. Poverty in Afghanistan has already driven many young men to join the Taliban simply to make a living.  Sending others back to the country, with no family or tribal connections,  will potentially make them soft targets for the Taliban and other criminal gangs recruiting in Kabul and other cities.

Ask people to name the three most dangerous cities in the world and I’ll bet a fair few would come up with Kabul, Baghdad, and Mogadishu. And guess where the UK is planning to return asylum seekers next? That’s right, Baghdad – a flight is due to leave the UK tomorrow via Sweden with ten people on board.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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