A possie in Aussie

December 1, 2009

Here’s a good part of the reason the Afghans are coming

Filed under: asylum,asylum seeker,boat people,refugee — Nayano @ 7:33 am
Tags: , , ,

I saw this news item yesterday about Pakistani migrants caught in Hong Kong after sea journey from China, and it got me thinking. Pakistani asylum seekers? (The body of the news item identifies the ‘migrants’ as refugees).

I haven’t heard of Pakistani nationals who are refugees, but Pakistan has (reluctantly) hosted hundreds of thousands of Hazara Afghan refugees for several decades, and I have met some ethnic Afghan Hazaras who were born in ‘camps’ in Pakistan.

This led me to the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ report on refugees in Pakistan, which makes clear why there has been a surge in numbers of Afghan Hazaras attempting to reach Australia by boat.

Some quotes from USCRI:

“Early 2009 Pakistani police continued a crackdown on unregistered Afghans begun late in the previous year and by March local courts were ordering the deportation of some 60 per month for lack of legal documents to remain under Section 14 of Foreigners Act.  The courts also imposed jail sentences of five to ten days and fines of 1,000 to 2,000 Rupees (about $13-25).

“In April, police authorities closed Jalozai camp outside Peshawar, the largest in Pakistan and home to over 70,000 people.  The Government’s chief refugee commissioner promised not to evict them forcibly or to cut off food aid, water, and electricity until the last refugee left the camp, but authorities demolished about 500 Afghan-owned shops at the camp and cut off power and water anyway.  Residents could return to Afghanistan—and 3,000 did—or rebuild homes in other camps in the Punjab or North West Frontier Provinces at their own expense.  Many had lived in the camp for decades.

“In October, officials accused some 50,000 Afghan refugees in the Bajaur tribal area near the border of links to militants, ordered them to leave the area, and began deporting them and arresting those who returned.  Authorities also threatened to bulldoze their homes and ordered local residents to cut business ties with them and to evict them from houses and shops they were renting.  Officials said they arrested at least 40 Afghans and would deport them and shut down Afghan-owned shops in the area.  About 168,000 fled to other parts of northwest Pakistan but some 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans went to Afghanistan’s neighboring Kunar province”.

See also ‘Indonesian solution’ for asylum seekers should be ‘Pakistan solution’

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