Saturday, 18 July 2015
14 June 2021

“Afghan Immigrants in Iran and lost rights”

2011 June 20

Fariba Davoodi Mohajer

More than three million legal and illegal Afghan refugees and asylum seekers live in Iran and this long stay has made problems for them during the last 30 years. According to UNHCR statistics, one million nd 27 thousand legal registered Afghan refugees live in Iran now. Last year the Iranian government performed a plan to census illegal immigrants once again after several times before between months July to August. They included census of illegal immigrants and finally the government declared that approximately two million illegal Afghan immigrants reside in Iran. Apart from Afghan refugees, nearly 42 thousand Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers live in Iran too. One of the worries of UNHCR is the effect of the plan of “targeted subsidies” on refugees in Iran, because as a result of this plan the cost of many services like transportation and clothing and groceries has sky rocketed and this has made life difficult for these groups of refugees who do not have that much financial power. Many refugees do not have an ID card and do not benefit from the basics of life like insurance, subsidies or health care.

Education also is a necessary service for children of refugees. International organizations have always tried to assist those who dean education but cannot afford it. But children of those asylum seekers who do not have ID cards cannot have education although it is a very natural human right. According to a school of children of Afghan refugees, these children suffer many mental problems including lack of self-confidence and there still is a long way to go to heal their pain of seeking asylum. The most important problem of working children of Afghan refugees can be counted as:

Not enjoying education and the right to go to school if exhausting labor leaves them any time and power to do so. These children cannot use schools. Children with legal ID need to pay a fee which is difficult for them. This will add up to costs of books and stationary which is not little. These children cannot benefit from social-education NGOs because these NGOs have been banned by law to give services to these children. Even independent schools founded by Afghans with the help of NGOs which educated Afghan children and teens have been closed.

As mentioned, not having the right of having identity is one of the major problems of these children. Many Afghan children do not have ID cards or because their mothers are Iranian they do not have any specific nationality. And this continues till the age of 18. This deprivation has destructive effects on their mental and social growth.

But meanwhile the basic question is depriving children from education a tool to force Afghans back to their country? If so, then what do we do with laws like children rights, refugees rights convention or contract to fight discrimination in education? Afghan children are children like all Iranian children and have the right to education. But why they are deprived from this right is a question Islamic Republic government needs to respond to. Following these deprivations, NGOs have taken action about children residing in Iran, Legally or illegally, despite their limitations in facilities and power and the problems the Iranian government has with NGOs but these NGOs cannot cover all these children. And Afghan children still face discrimination when it comes to education. Right now some countries are taking actions to reduce difficulties of Afghan asylum seekers in Iran and 1300 people are going to be temporarily resettled in countries like Norway, Australia, Sweden and Slovakia.

According to statistics less than 3 percent of registered asylum seekers live in satellite cities and many of them live in dumps and suburbs and engage in illegal works and they don’t even enjoy camps facilities. Many asylum seekers who get sick cannot cure themselves and face serious problems in this area.

Voluntary return of these asylum seekers is another problem Iranian government worries about. From 2002 nearly 875 refugees and asylum seekers have gone back to their country by the help of UNHCR and few of the illegal immigrants have decided to leave Iran and some are deported every month. But even from these groups, every month some come back to Iran, legally and illegally. That’s what makes it impossible to recon a specific time of returning for all asylum seekers. These asylum seekers reach Iran in very bad conditions, even like lying in gas tankers.

But another social-humanistic angle of this issue is the vast deportation of Afghan immigrants in Iran which has a very negative impact on lives of a huge number of these immigrants. This action has also been criticized by some of the social forces in Iran too. These people believe that quick deportation of these people will jeopardize their basic human rights. Meanwhile since Afghanistan does not have a potential for a normal life with the least standards, this causes some people who do not have any chance to live in Afghanistan to be sacrificed. Again the first people who will be hurt by deportation are children.

Iran has more than 3 million immigrants from around the world. This makes it more necessary for human rights activist to look at the issue of immigrants living within Iranian borders in a more vigilant manner and react to it considering legal, social, fiscal and last but not the least humanitarian angles. Action on the issue of Afghan immigrants requires a more specific, more tolerant and more expert centered approach so that the basic human rights of any human regardless of his place of birth or nationality would be respected and with a correct policy making negative out comes that have a possibility to show up need to be prevented. So having a long term process with inter action between governments of Iran and Afghanistan, with respect to the freedom of choice of immigrants and an effort to root out the problems standing on the way seem to be necessary.

«نوشته فوق می تواند نظر نویسنده باشد و الزامن نظر رادیو کوچه نیست»

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