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Pakistan: Urgent call to reverse decision to expel Afghan refugees ahead of tomorrow's deadline

More than 1.4 million refugees at risk of being deported

‘This would particularly put women and girls in grave danger’ - Deprose Muchena

Ahead of the Pakistan Government’s deadline for forced deportations of unregistered Afghan refugees which times out tomorrow, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Senior Director, said:

“The Government of Pakistan must immediately reverse its decision to forcibly deport unregistered Afghan refugees ahead of the deadline set for tomorrow. Pakistan must meet its international legal obligations including the principle of non-refoulement and stop the crackdown against, and harassment of, Afghan refugees across the country.                           

“We are also calling on the international community to financially support Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees, and to share the responsibility to provide protection to those fleeing persecution in Afghanistan.

“More than 1.4 million refugees are at risk of being uprooted from the place they've taken refuge and called home. There is still time for Pakistan to act swiftly today to avoid creating a crisis where families are rendered homeless, denied access to livelihood and basic services and separated in the lead up to the harsh winter months.

“This would particularly put women and girls in grave danger as they would be exposed to persecution and other serious human rights violations simply because of their sex and their gender. For an overwhelming majority of them living and studying in Pakistan may be their only chance of gaining a formal education.

“A significant number of Afghan refugees including journalists, human rights defenders, women protestors, artists, and former government officials and security personnel would also be at imminent risk of persecution and repression by the Taliban, if forced to return to Afghanistan.

“Afghan refugees’ lives and rights are at stake due to the collective failure of the Pakistan Government and the international community to share the responsibility for their protection. This is simply unacceptable.”

Amnesty has previously documented the harassment meted out to Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

In the last 12 months, Amnesty has also sent correspondence to the Pakistani government to raise concerns regarding the delays in registration, harassment and discrimination faced by Afghan refugees in the country.

Last week, Amnesty wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan urging him to reverse its decision to forcibly return Afghan refugees to Afghanistan.

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