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ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN: Number of people internally displaced by conflict doubled to 1.2 million in just three years

1 Jun 2016
[International Secretariat]
Region: ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN
Topic: Refugees and Migrants

The number of Afghans who have fled violence and remained trapped in their own country - where they live on the brink of survival - has dramatically doubled over the past three years, a new report by Amnesty International highlights.

A staggering 1.2 million people are internally displaced in Afghanistan today, a dramatic increase from some 500,000 in 2013. Afghans already form one of the world's largest refugee populations, with an estimated 2.6 million Afghan citizens living beyond the country's border.

Amnesty International's research found that despite the promises made by successive Afghan governments, internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan continue to lack adequate shelter, food, water, health care, and opportunities to pursue education and employment.

Forced evictions

On 18 June 2015, the first day of Ramadan, a group of armed men in militarystyle threatened to bulldoze shelters at the Chaman-e-Babrak camp in Kabul. An elderly man protested the attempted forced eviction, appealing to nearby police officers to halt the bulldozing. He was beaten by the armed men, triggering a demonstration.

In response, residents said that police and the armed men opened fire on the IDPs, killing two people and injuring 10. One of the injured was a 12-year-old boy. No investigation was carried out and no one has been held to account.

A life on the brink of survival

Most IDP communities lack access to basic health care facilities. With only mobile clinics, operated by NGOs or the government, occasionally available, IDPs are often forced to seek private health care that they cannot afford.

As people without any stable source of income, IDPs can find themselves burdened with large amounts of debt. In one case, a father told Amnesty International that he had to borrow 20,000 Afs (US$292) to pay for an operation for his son.

Since being forced to leave their homes, IDP children's education has been interrupted and adults have been reduced to chronic unemployment.

"The financial burdens on displaced families are compounded," said Champa Patel. "They have lost the traditional sources of their livelihoods, and only have few opportunities for informal work, creating circumstances where women are excluded, and children are being exploited and not educated."

The IDP Policy: A failed promise

The 2014 IDP Policy spells out the rights of IDPs on paper and a concrete action plan for the Afghan government to implement it. But it has not lived up to its promise and, so far, showed little benefits for those displaced.

There are many reasons for the failure to implement it - for one, there is an enormous lack of capacity and expertise in the Afghan government when it comes to IDPs.

At the same time, the international community has not stepped in as much as it could where the Afghan government has been unable to. With other crises grabbing global attention and donor money, aid to Afghanistan is dwindling. The UN has asked for US$ 393 million in humanitarian funding for Afghanistan in 2016 –the smallest figure in years despite the dire humanitarian situation. By May, less than a quarter had been funded.

Recommendations

Amnesty International is calling on the Afghan government must make the implementation of the IDP Policy a priority, and ensure that enough resources are dedicate across the government to making it a reality.

Key international actors in Afghanistan must also do more to ensure that the human rights of those displaced are met, and lend more weight, expertise and resources to the implementation of the IDP Policy.

"Afghanistan and the world must act now to end the country's displacement crisis, before it is too late."

31 MAY 2016
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

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