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.
With fighting and insecurity likely to remain dominant features of Afghanistan’s landscape in the immediate future, displacement will continue to ebb and flow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regional programming and advocacy in relation to Afghan refugees should be framed around supporting and responding to, rather than ‘solving’, protracted displacement.
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.
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.
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.
Decision-makers on asylum claims need to specifically address the concerns of disabled asylum seekers from Afghanistan and their prospects if returned.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poor socio-economic conditions and loss of support mechanisms appear to be key factors in increasing the vulnerability of displaced women to violence.
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.
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.
The large number of displaced Afghans represents both a protection and an urban development challenge for the government and international community.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.