Number goes up sharply in four years
23rd June 2010: Even though the incidents of Afghan child migrants being forcibly deported have come to light in the recent past, the number of Afghan migrants looking for asylum in the West has risen sharply.
As per a study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in the past four years the number of migrants opting for Europe has gone up.
The organization suggest worsening security, widespread unemployment, the dearth of socio-economic opportunities and rapidly declining hopes for a brighter future are among the major factors driving the Afghans towards immigration. The prospects of high income and better living conditions in Europe and Australia are among the other attractive factors.
Most of the migrants are young men or teenagers managing to enter European countries.
Last year a total of 26,803 Afghans applied for asylum in 39 countries mainly Western. It was about 45 percent up from 18,453 claims made in 44 countries in 2008. Most of the migrants managing to enter European countries are young men or teenagers.
A study of unaccompanied Afghan child migrants in Europe conducted by UNHCR in June found that some children paid up to US$15,000 and spent several months reaching their favoured European destination.
Meanwhile the forced expulsion of Afghan child migrants from the UK and other European countries has invited criticism from the human rights activists. They have demanded that the forced expulsion should be discontinued immediately as it puts children in harm’s way.
The UNICEF’s communication officer Aziz Froutan, strongly advocates against blanket return policies that involve forced repatriation of children.
He says that it is highly doubtful that the return of children to countries with unstable or even deteriorating security situations, and where local child protection services do not exist, presents a tough solution for these children or would be in their best interest.
Hamida Barmaki, a child rights commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), said Afghanistan was not able to offer minimum protection and welfare services to child deportees from Europe.