Over 5.5 lakh Afghans have been internally displaced by conflict this year: UN

Bengaluru : More than over 550,000 Afghans have been internally displaced by conflict within Afghanistan, since the beginning of 2021 including 1,26,000 new Internally displaced people (IDPs) between 7 July 7 and August 9 , according to UNHCR.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency mandated to aid and protect refugees and assist their resettlement to a third country.

It said tens of thousands of Afghans have crossed international borders in recent weeks due to the hostilities and human rights violations after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul.

There has been a rapid deterioration in the security and human rights situation in large parts of the country after the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, UNHCR said.

The agency expressed concern about the risk of human rights violations against civilians, including against women and girls and against Afghans, who are perceived by the Taliban to have a current or past association with the Afghan government or with the international military forces in Afghanistan or with international organizations in the country.

UNHCR also asked all countries to allow civilians fleeing Afghanistan access to their territories as the situation in Afghanistan remains flaccid and uncertain.

It also asked all countries to keep their borders open to ensure the right to seek asylum is not breached.

The same applies to those who were already in countries of asylum before the recent escalation of violence in Afghanistan, UNHCR said.

The agency also welcomed steps taken by some countries of asylum to suspend decision-making on international protection needs of nationals and former habitual residents of Afghanistan, until such time as the situation in the country has stabilized.

UNHCR also called on states to suspend the forcible return of nationals and former habitual residents of Afghanistan, including those who have had their asylum claims rejected.

“A moratorium on forced returns to Afghanistan would need to stay in place until the situation in the country has stabilized, pending an assessment of when the changed situation in the country would permit return in safety and dignity,” UNHCR said.