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Amnesty International urges Europe to keep people from Afghanistan

Staff Writer |
European governments have put thousands of Afghans in harm’s way by forcibly returning them to a country where they are at serious risk of torture, kidnapping, death and other human rights abuses, Amnesty International said.

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At a time when civilian casualties in Afghanistan are at their highest levels since 2009, the report says, European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum-seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law.

The new 45-page report, Forced Back to Danger: Asylum-Seekers Returned from Europe to Afghanistan, details harrowing cases of Afghans who have been returned from Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany only to be killed, injured in bomb attacks, or left to live in constant fear of being persecuted for their sexual orientation or conversion to Christianity.

While not covered by the report, the UK’s record on returning people to Afghanistan is similarly dire and the Home Office continues to reject the vast majority of Afghan asylum claims despite the country’s worsening security situation.

Afghans forcibly returned from Europe, the report says, include unaccompanied children and young adults who were children at the time when they arrived in Europe.

Several people Amnesty interviewed for the report were sent to parts of Afghanistan they had never known, despite the dangerous situation and impunity for crimes such as torture.

The UK's Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has begun work on an inspection into how the Home Office ensures it acts in the "best interest" of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC).

This is the second in what is intended to be a series of inspections focused on the treatment of children within the context of borders, immigration and citizenship.

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