Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, October 19th, 2018

Increasing Number of Afghan IDPs

Each year, instability and insecurity compel many people throughout Afghanistan to leave their homes and search for refuge somewhere where their survival can be guaranteed. Unfortunately, they always do not find what they leave for and have to go through myriads of problems even in the new place or on the way to the new place. In most of the cases, many people do not even choose their destinations. Driven away by insecurity and poverty, they do not have anything in mind except running away from death and misery.
There are many people from Afghanistan who opt to migrate to other countries. A large number of Afghan refugees and immigrants can be found in European countries, Canada, Australia, US and the neighboring countries; particularly, Pakistan and Iran. They definitely face various problems and there have been many occasions when their troubles have been identified; however, there is another section of the population that leave their homes but do not leave their country, which means that they move from one place to another within their own country. They are identified as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and, just like the immigrants, they also face different sorts of problems. However, their troubles are not highlighted as often as that of the refugees or immigrants.
A recent report by Amnesty International (IA), My Children Will Die This Winter: Afghanistan’s Broken Promise to the Displaced, shows that the number of people displaced in Afghanistan because of the prevailing violence and poverty has more than doubled over the past three years – it has climbed from 500,000 to 1.2 million. The number is really large and shows how increasing insecurity and consistent poverty have victimized the poor people of Afghanistan. And, the trouble is not just the increasing number of the IDPs but also the different sorts of trouble these all people face while they become IDPs.
According to the report, the IDPs face numerous problems including inadequate shelter, a lack of food and water as well as access to education, healthcare and employment. Unfortunately, this large number of people with so many troubles have not been able to gain much attention, neither by national authorities nor by international organizations. Champa Patel, AI’s South Asia Director, said in a statement, "While the world's attention seems to have moved on from Afghanistan, we risk forgetting the plight of those left behind by the conflict… Even after fleeing their homes to seek safety, increasing numbers of Afghans are languishing in appalling conditions in their own country, and fighting for their survival with no end in sight."
It is important to see that this report highlights mostly the physiological needs of the people; there are so many other requirements as well that they should get. Their psychological needs are also imperative but because there is no arrangement even for the physiological needs, the psychological and emotional needs are out of question.
It is really difficult for the people to leave their homes and their birthplaces. The new places are always unknown to them and it is really difficult for them to adjust at such places. Moreover, the new places do not always welcome them with open arms. The people already living at that place may not be happy by the arrival of new people and may not be ready to share the limited resources that they have.
Few among them may be economically sound and they may have travelled because of insecurity. Only they are able to start their lives anew, while most of them suffer from poverty and thus they have no other option but to find support in one way or the other. In some cases, the government or private support may reach to them but that also proves to be insufficient or ill-managed.
In some cases, they are provided some shelters, where they can live and some food and drinking water; however, that is not adequate for them to stay healthy and fight diseases. A statement by Mastan, a 50-year-old women living in an IDP camp in Herat, quoted by AI, says, "Even an animal would not live in this hut, but we have to. I would prefer to be in prison rather than in this place, at least in prison I would not have to worry about food and shelter."
In the wake of such a condition, the arrangements by the Afghan government are almost non-existent. According to AI report, Afghan authorities promised to improve the conditions of the IDPs; however, the promises have not been fulfilled, instead the daily threats of forced eviction, from both government and private actors, of the IDPs have persisted on daily basis.
The Report also highlights that in 2014, the Afghan government did endorse a new National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons, raising hopes of displaced people and their advocates that the situation would change. However, the Report finds that the policy has not delivered for IDPs. Despite the comprehensive approach outlined, very little has happened in practice. In reality, the policy is a failed promise and the situation for those who are internally displaced has deteriorated in the period since the policy was introduced.