Afghanistan: UNHCR alarm over forced refugee returns from Tajikistan

In the latest incident, some five Afghans, including a family comprising three children and their mother, were returned home to Afghanistan, despite UNHCR’s protests.

"Tajikistan must stop detaining and deporting refugees, an action that clearly puts lives at risk," said Elizabeth Tan, UNHCR’s Director of International Protection. "Forced return of refugees is against the law and runs contrary to the principle of non-refoulement, a cornerstone of international refugee law."

Separate from legal ramifications, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also expressed concern on Thursday over the ability of returning refugees to make a living.

Richard Trenchard, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Afghanistan, warned that, “almost half the total population face acute food insecurity – hunger on a daily basis.”

The legal and physical perils faced by returning refugees have therefore been compounded by the ongoing food insecurity crisis, which has become more acute in the year since the Taliban takeover.