Thursday, May 10, 2007

1 million Afghan illegals to be expelled from Iran by 3/08.

The recent Iranian decision to expel 1 million Afghan illegals from Iran just crossed my radar screen yesterday.

The UN is concerned but says the situation is still manageable. They admit that some people have been separated from members of their families,” he said. “There are cases where people may not have sufficient water or transportation to get home. These are the issues we are trying to help with.”

If everything is so under control and manageable I wonder why this happened: Afghan Parliament sacks minister over Iran refugees row.

Afghanistan's parliament voted Thursday to sack the refugees minister amid an uproar over Iran's forced return of thousands of illegal refugees, while the fate of the foreign minister is in the balance.

Refugees Affairs Minister Akbar Akbar lost a no-confidence vote by a large majority, while the vote for Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta was hanging on a single spoilt ballot.

Parliament said it would decide how to handle Spanta's vote when it reconvened on Saturday. Akbar has effectively lost his job but President Hamid Karzai could decide to keep him on as acting minister until his replacement is approved by parliament, MP Shukria Barakzai said.

Parliamentarians accused him of not doing enough to accommodate the thousands of refugees who have flooded into western Afghanistan after Iran said it wanted one million illegal Afghans out of its country by March 2008.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says more than 52,000 were forced out between April 21 and May 8, according to government figures. Spanta was accused of not doing enough to persuade Iran to ease its policy of forced repatriation.

Where's the international outcry about the Iranian expulsion of one million illegals back to their home country, Afghanistan?

Can you imagine what would happen if the US were to get serious about illegals in this country and expelled a million or so back to Mexico? Ain't. Gonna. Happen. Think Little Elian Gonzalez and multiply it by a million...I'm here to tell you there's not a politician in this world that wants that scene playing out on the nightly news.

Here's how they are playing it in the Middle East News:
Iran launches new scheme to entice Afghans home.

Iran published advertisements in newspapers Tuesday offering new incentives for its hundreds of thousands of registered Afghan refugees to return home. The new plan comes two weeks after Iran began a major drive to expel Afghan workers without papers that has already seen tens of thousands kicked out of the country.

Under the offer, worked out with the Afghan government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, if a family returns home, some of its members will be allowed to return to Iran and work for a limited period.

"Those Afghans can benefit from the voluntary repatriation program including a work permit in Iran, and $100 cash aid for a family of up to five members each," said the advertisement. "If the family consists of nine members, two members of the family will receive the Iranian work permit, and also they are given a form to evaluate them to see whether they are eligible for a piece of land back home," a UNHCR spokeswoman said.

Afghans with proper working papers are estimated to form half of the 2 million Afghans who fled the conflicts in their home country and still live in the Islamic republic.

Iran wants all its Afghan refugees to return home in the coming years and interior minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi has said
Tehran wants 1 million Afghans to be repatriated by next March. The forced repatriation efforts in recent weeks have sparked protests from ordinary Afghans in the streets of Kabul and also concern from the Afghan foreign ministry, which said it could not afford to house the newcomers.

Being pushed out a second story window doesn't sound like an advertisement to me: Afghan Deported From Iran Dies From Injuries

Officials in Afghanistan's western province of Herat say an Afghan worker has died in hospital from injuries received at the hands of Iranian security forces, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported. The man was one of four Afghan workers who say they were pushed from the second floor of a building in Iran on May 2 by Iranian authorities assigned to expel Afghan refugees. All four were deported. The Afghan Foreign Ministry says it will investigate the allegations through the Afghan Embassy in Tehran

Forced repatriation. Visions of 1939 danced in my head when I read this. From Payyand.

CWS-Pakistan/Afghanistan says that from April 24 to May 5 (2007), the process of deporting Afghan refugees has been going on through the Dogharoon border of Herat Province and Abrishem Bridge of Nimroz Province. Reports have also been received of people being forcibly repatriated and that deportees have said that they have been ill-treated by Iranian security officials.

Returnees are facing huge problems surviving day to day, with a need for food, shelter, and other basic items, especially among the families that are scattered across Farah and Nimroz provinces - both areas where insecurity levels are high, and few aid agencies operate. Herat has fewer returnees and is receiving relatively more assistance, as there are more international and national NGOs and UN agencies operating in the area.

More in depth info on the refugee conditions here.