Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Afghans, Largest Group of Refugees in World!

According to United Nations High Commission for Refugees' (UNHCR) statistic in 2010, three million refugees out of the 15.6 million worldwide – nearly one in every five – were Afghans. Of the nearly 700,000 asylum applications lodged in 2009 and 2010 in 44 industrialized nations of the world, nearly 52,000 – one in every 13 –were from Afghans. Along with Somalia, Afghanistan is the largest source of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. Yet, Afghanistan constitutes only about 0.005% of world population.

Many Afghans, illiterate and uneducated, do not understand UNHCR's claim procedures and the reason for the Afghan migration is spiking insecurity, skyrocketing prices hike, lack of shelter, unemployment and the deteriorating state of hopelessness. During the last couple of years, repatriation of Afghan refugees has been very slowed due to the bleak situation. Insecurity and poverty are the prime factors of low repatriation. It's obvious that return, alone, does not mean success. It must be followed by successful reintegration, enabled by conditions conducive for the social and economic wellbeing of refugees. Greater efforts are needed to ensure returnees with basic services, such as access to land, water, shelter, general education, health care and electricity. But unfortunately these facilities are not provided and people are tired of the bureaucratic process of judiciary.

Our neighboring countries Pakistan and Iran have been hosting millions of Afghan refugees during the decades of wars and crisis. Our leaders have time and again thanked our neighbors for the hospitality of hosting refugees in bad times. Economy of both countries have been affected and due to these reasons Pakistan and Iran are trying to increase repatriation so as to send home the remaining 3 million Afghans in both countries.

The numbers of repatriation have decreased sharply in recent years and at the same time the number of Afghans leaving the country, mostly because of unemployment, are also rising. Ensuring sustainable refugee return and addressing irregular migration have at least one solution in common – an improvement in the overall economic environment and in employment opportunities. Progress in these areas will surely encourage more Afghans to return and provide reasons for others not to leave the country."

Over Three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran are reluctant to return home due to the rising insurgency and poverty. International community is needed to pay more heed in this regard. The financial crisis may affect funding Afghan refugees which the UN should ensure with timely assistance and measure in this regard.