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Afghanistan: Water cannons used on women in Herat
Out of 270,000 Afghans in need of permanent protection who fled the country in 2021, only 271 were resettled in the EU in the whole of 2022, new figures revealed.
The International Rescue Committee accused the Brussels bloc of “staggering neglect”, pointing out that most of the refugees who left Afghanistan are still trapped in “prison-like” conditions on Greek islands.
In its latest report, the charity said that EU states have “consistently” failed to deliver on promised legal resettlement for Afghans who reached the bloc’s borders last year.
Since August 2021, Afghanistan has become the most repressive in the world for women and girls, depriving them of virtually all their basic rights, according to the UN.
Hunger in the country also remains endemic.
The IRC estimated that of 41,500 Afghans who reached the EU’s shores last year, only 271 were allocated a permanent accommodation.
They said: “While the IRC welcomes each of these efforts, this response remains vastly insufficient.”
The charity also found the the UK is doing considerably better than many EU states on the matter.
According to Government data, 13,000 Afghans were given indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
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David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, said: “This report highlights staggering neglect of Afghans by the member states of the European Union, which puts them at risk at every step of their journeys in search of protection.
“While some states’s well-intentioned plans to bring Afghans to safety have hit repeated delays and obstacles, other countries have failed to make any pledges at all, or to guarantee adequate protection and inclusion for the tiny proportion of Afghan refugees who manage to reach Europe.”
He added: “There is simply no excuse for treating Afghans, and refugees forced from their homes elsewhere, any differently.”
Zahra, 60, a refugee interviewed by the IRC, said: “Waiting for an answer was a very difficult and anxious time for me, as I was without my two children in this foreign country whose culture I did not know. I had no choice but to wait and hope that one day I would be able to offer my children a safe life here.”
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