Afghan refugees at the border with Iran  (undated)

Afghan refugees at the border with Iran

Iran Border Police Fire At Afghan Refugees To Push Them Back

Wednesday, 08/31/2022

Human rights group Amnesty International said Wednesday that Iranian and Turkish security forces have repeatedly opened fire at Afghans who attempted to cross their borders to reach safety. 

In a new report, titled 'They don’t treat us like humans,' Amnesty released documents of numerous instances -- mostly at Iran border -- where security forces have shot directly at the refugees as they climbed over walls or crawled under fences to prevent their entry or forcibly return them to face life-threatening risks under the Taliban regime, in violation of international law.

Highlighting their plight, the report said the migrants are poor and lack passports or other valid travel documents, therefore they are especially vulnerable to border police who use threats or outright violence to keep them out. 

It added that Afghans who do manage to enter Iran or Turkey are routinely arbitrarily detained and subjected to torture, with a total of 11 killings by Iranian security forces. Although the true death toll is likely to be significantly higher, the Amnesty said.

“One year after the end of airlift evacuations from Afghanistan, many of those left behind are risking their lives to leave the country – Afghans who have travelled to the Iranian and Turkish borders over the past year, in search of safety, have instead been forcibly returned under fire. We documented how Iranian security forces have unlawfully killed and injured dozens of Afghans since last August, including by firing repeatedly into packed cars,” said Marie Forestier, researcher on refugee and migrants rights.

Hundreds of thousands fled Afghanistan in August 2021 after the US left the country in a chaotic military pullout, allowing the hardline Taliban Islamists to retake control.

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