HRW criticizes Germany for not fulfilling promises to accept Afghanistan refugees

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized the government of Germany for not fulfilling its promises to accept refugees from Afghanistan.

HRW Associate Asia Director Patricia Gossman stated in a statement on Friday that the Federal Admission Program, initiated by the government of Germany in October 2022, was supposed to bring up to 1,000 refugees per month. However, the program has been plagued with problems, and as of May, not a single refugee has arrived through the program.

Gossman said that Germany has already taken in numerous former local employees and other refugees who were particularly at risk immediately after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. However, thousands of human rights activists, journalists, and others at risk remain stuck in Afghanistan or neighboring countries or have been inexplicably denied admission to Germany.

She stated that Germany is not the only country to fall far short of its promises to refugees. The United Kingdom has also taken very few refugees from Afghanistan who had not worked directly with the UK government, and those who were relocated have been let down. Nearly 9,000 refugees who have been stuck in temporary accommodation in the UK now face eviction with no place to go.

She also criticized the United States for leaving behind thousands of interpreters, support staff, and others who should have been eligible for special visas. The program for these visas has now been extended through 2024, but many people who qualify for the visas are still waiting to be processed.

Gossman said that NATO countries that promised to resettle refugees from Afghanistan have been abysmally slow. And the focus on evacuating those who participated in the military effort has disadvantaged women at risk, including women’s rights defenders.

After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, thousands of people fled the country in search of safety. Most of them sought refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Since then, hundreds of them have been resettled in other countries, but thousands remain in limbo in the neighboring countries.

According to a UN report, Afghanistan is among the top three countries with the highest number of refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced people in 2022. The report stated that of a total of 108.4 million people displaced, 5.7 million are from Afghanistan.