PACE Rapporteur Birgir Thórarinsson (Iceland, EPP/CD) today urged member States to step up external action in support to Afghan refugees and to first reception countries as recommended in Resolution 2522 (2023). He recalled the Assembly’s unanimous decision that “deportations to Afghanistan are not acceptable under the current circumstances and that forced removals should be immediately halted.”
“Millions of Afghans, among them women and children, as well as people on the Taliban’ wanting list are being forced out because of their lack of valid administrative status in Pakistan even though most of the newly arrived Afghans have been unable or faced obstacles to register their presence since 2021,” he underlined.
The rapporteur also expressed its deep concerns at reports of registered refugees, refugees awaiting resettlement and Afghans with a valid residence permit being pressurised into leaving their country of residence.
In October 2023, the Parliamentary Assembly called on member States’ external representations to Pakistan and Iran to coordinate in the examination of visa requests and resettlement processes, alongside a number of other concrete recommendations. It also called on member States to consider resuming their consular services in Kabul with a view to facilitating access to protection for Afghans most at risk and to enhancing support to Afghan civil society especially in support of women and girls.
“Ahead of the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023 and the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in 2024, I call for interparliamentary initiatives to reflect on ways for our institutions to help build up and materialise political leadership to address one of the most severe refugee crises in the world,” Mr Thórarinsson concluded.