Diplomatic Missions urge Pakistan to stop detaining Afghanistan refugees

Afghanistan diplomatic missions and consulates in a statement Friday expressed concerns and denounced the recent arrests of Afghanistan refugees in Pakistan, urging the neighboring country to stop detainments by upholding humanitarian obligations and providing refuge to those in need.

The statement highlighted that the people have sought refuge in Pakistan fleeing significant political, security, and economic challenges over the past decades, particularly following the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021.

“These refugees have endured immense hardships, leaving their homes, families, and livelihoods behind, and have relied on the hospitality of their neighboring nations for support.” Part of the statement reads.

While the diplomatic missions and consulates expressed gratitude to the Pakistani government for playing host to refugees from Afghanistan, it stated that refugees have been detained in alarming numbers in recent years.

“We commend Pakistan for hosting a large number of Afghan refugees over the years and recognize the burden this has placed on Pakistan,” said Farid Mumundzay, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India.

“However, we are deeply troubled by reports of Afghan refugees being detained and arrested in Pakistan. These actions violate international human rights standards and are against the principles of compassion and solidarity.”

The diplomatic missions and consulates called for the immediate release of all Afghanistan refugees detained in Pakistan, including women and children, to ensure the protection of the rights and dignity of these refugees.

The statement also made an appeal to the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other concerned international organizations to provide effective support to ease the dire situation of refugees.

Earlier, a diplomatic delegation met Pakistan law enforcement agencies to discuss the issue of detainment of Afghanistan refugees and demand the release of at least 250 who were arrested across Rawalpindi and other cities.

According to UNHCR, more than 600,000 Afghans have fled to Pakistan since the Taliban take over in August 2021, bringing the number of Afghanistan refugees in the country to 3.7 million, only 1.32 million of whom are registered with this agency. The detainment of refugees in Pakistan has been an ongoing issue, with widespread reports of mistreatment, abuse, and deportation in the past.