In March 2016, I travelled to Afghanistan with the Edmund Rice Centre (ERC) to conduct an investigation into what happens when Afghan asylum seekers return to the country, whether by deportation or by voluntary return. We came up with a report called The Responsibility to Protect which you can download by clicking here. At 98 pages, it’s a long but comprehensive analysis but we hope it will be beneficial in explaining the situation in Afghanistan. I also will be posting individual chapters to my website over the next few weeks.
The Responsibility to Protect report is the continuation of ERC’s determination to investigate Australia’s most recent deportations to Afghanistan by providing an overview of Afghanistan’s current security, political, and socio-economic situation, the drivers and trends of migration, and the returnees’ experience, compiled from both primary and secondary sources. The sources selected for preparing this report include scholarly analysis, expert commentary, government and international organisations’ documents, officials’ statements, and newspaper reports as well as conducting interviews with experts and practitioners working at national and international development agencies in Afghanistan. In addition to relying on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, a number of deported Afghans from Australia, Europe and other countries have been interviewed in the context of returnees’ experience in order to broaden the focus of the report.
The report concludes that it would be impossible for Australian, European and other governments to guarantee the safety of Afghan returnees in this period of instability. Afghanistan is currently experiencing widespread conflict, intensifying violence, political instability, human rights abuses, lack of rule of law and good governance, economic hardships, and a serious refugee crisis. This has led to a situation whereby many Afghan people have been forced to leave their country and seek refuge in foreign nations in numbers that have not been seen since 2001. Between 2015 and 2016, tens of thousands of Afghans fled their homes in the hope of seeking asylum in Europe and other parts of the world. What is clear is that Afghans are leaving their country for a mixture of reasons, including political, security and economic, and it is not as simple as to claim that they are only leaving because of economic reasons.