Afghanistan’s displaced people: 2014 and beyond

FMR 46
May 2014

2014 is widely seen as marking a watershed for Afghanistan with its legacy of 35 years of conflict and one of the world’s largest populations in protracted displacement. International military forces are being withdrawn and the country is ‘in transition’, and there is still considerable uncertainty about the capacity of the country to address the challenges of return, integration and reintegration, protection, access to rights, and continuing displacement. FMR 46 contains 21 articles on Afghanistan, plus a mini-feature on Statelessness.

Contents

Aidan O’Leary

2014 marks a watershed for Afghanistan, with the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) after twelve years, and the very real risks this withdrawal poses to the capacity of the Afghan state to meet the many internal and external challenges faced by the country. These challenges have significant implications for displaced and returning Afghans and for the potential for displacement in the future.

Rahmatullah Amiri

With fighting and insecurity likely to remain dominant features of Afghanistan’s landscape in the immediate future, displacement will continue to ebb and flow.

Maira Kuppers

A group of people of nomadic lifestyle in eastern Afghanistan has reportedly recently been forcibly relocated because of their lack of identity documents: yet another cause of displacement in Afghanistan that requires a just and sustainable solution.

Laurie S Wiseberg

Developing a national policy to address the needs of Afghanistan’s IDPs was beset with obstacles and challenges. Although the IDP Policy is now a reality, its implementation is likely to meet challenges of a similar nature.

Pierfrancesco Maria Natta

Providing a minimum standard of living and livelihood opportunities to help anchor those who have returned is critical for the future stability and security of Afghanistan. This is one of the three main objectives of the 2012 Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees.

Shobha Rao and Jan Turkstra

The case of Maslakh in western Afghanistan is an example of translating Afghanistan’s new IDP Policy into reality. If successful the project will ensure security of land tenure for IDPs in urban settings and set a precedent for local integration of IDPs across Afghanistan, a highly contentious and politicised issue thus far.

Dan Tyler

Regional programming and advocacy in relation to Afghan refugees should be framed around supporting and responding to, rather than ‘solving’, protracted displacement.

Muhammad Abbas Khan

In preparation for 2014 and the impact of ‘transition’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s new National Refugee Policy tries to address both the uncertainties and the realities facing Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Sanaa Alimia

Given that the majority of Afghans who live in Pakistan today are unlikely to return to Afghanistan, more needs to be done to address their vulnerabilities and protect them from harassment and violence.

Armando Geller and Maciej M Latek

Understanding the factors that have an impact on refugee decision making about return and people’s ability to reintegrate following return is critical in planning appropriate pre- and post-return programmes for Afghan refugees in Iran.

Andreas Dimopoulos

Decision-makers on asylum claims need to specifically address the concerns of disabled asylum seekers from Afghanistan and their prospects if returned.

Katie Kuschminder, Melissa Siegel and Nassim Majidi

Donors and practitioners need to adapt to a changing landscape of migration and return migration in their efforts to target Afghans most in need of assistance.

Tabasum Akseer

Although I have lived most of my life in Canada, Afghanistan is my family’s homeland and, along with other Canadians, we are committed to supporting its restoration.

Marieke van Houte

Afghan returnees from industrialised countries are expected to contribute to development and peace building in Afghanistan. However, which category of returnee is expected to bring what kind of change often remains under-defined.

Camille Hennion

Poor socio-economic conditions and loss of support mechanisms appear to be key factors in increasing the vulnerability of displaced women to violence.

Lida Ahmad

Women in Afghanistan have been raped and sexually targeted during decades of conflict. A new Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Woman (EVAW) has been approved but now needs implementation.

Nassim Majidi

Displaced young people in Kabul are waiting to see what the coming year brings for Afghanistan before making a decision as whether to move on again. This provides a window of opportunity to develop youth-sensitive programming.

 

Findings of a collaborative research project provide an insight into why some returned Afghan minors are keen to set out again, despite numerous challenges.

Dan Tyler and Susanne Schmeidl

Growing numbers of IDPs live in informal settlements in major Afghan urban centres but the ways in which displaced young women and girls are vulnerable in such settings are not well enough understood or addressed.

Caroline Howard and Jelena Madzarevic

The large number of displaced Afghans represents both a protection and an urban development challenge for the government and international community.

Susanne Schmeidl

There is currently much evidence pointing to another wave of displacement likely to occur in Afghanistan. Ignoring these early warning signs and failing to act may mean paying a higher price in the future, both financially and in human terms.

Khalid Koser

Afghanistan in 2014 will experience a combination of security, political and economic ‘transitions’, the responses to which will be fundamental in determining the extent of any further displacement of Afghan people over the coming years.

Additional articles

Volker Türk

The 60th anniversary of the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons is an opportunity to draw attention to the human face of statelessness, and to increase awareness of the impact of this issue on both the lives of individuals and societies more broadly.

Zahra Albarazi and Laura van Waas

The contribution of gender discrimination to generating and perpetuating statelessness is considerable, and there continues to be a need to address such discrimination in nationality laws.

Liliana Gamboa and Julia Harrington Reddy

A recent Constitutional Tribunal decision in the Dominican Republic, if implemented as drafted, will leave thousands of Dominicans stateless and send a lesson to other states that mass arbitrary denationalisations are acceptable as long as they are judicially mandated.

There are many stateless people in Europe who face human rights abuses every day, from destitution on the streets to long periods of immigration detention. These stories come from the European Network on Statelessness.

Amal de Chickera and Joanna Whiteman

Exploring the interconnections between statelessness and discrimination offers useful insight into the multiple vulnerabilities associated with statelessness and provides a framework through which these vulnerabilities can be addressed.

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