Human Rights

Iran's deportation of Afghan children outrages Herat officials

By Omar

The Iranian regime is forcibly separating Afghan children from their families, rounding them up and then deporting them -- alone -- to Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials. More than 2,500 Afghan children have been deported over the past year from Iran, according to data. [Omar]

HERAT -- The Iranian regime is forcibly separating Afghan children from their families, rounding them up and then deporting them -- alone -- to Afghanistan.

According to Afghan officials in Herat, Iranian authorities arrest any Afghan, including women and children, who are not carrying official identification, and immediately deport them without contacting their relatives.

Each day, about 10 deported children whom Iranian forces separated from their families enter Herat through the Islam Qala border crossing, said Ahmad Jawid Nadem, director of the Herat Province Department of Refugees and Repatriations.

Over the past year, the Iranian government has deported more than 2,500 Afghan refugee children in the absence of their guardians to Afghanistan through the border crossing, he added.

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A number of Afghan children deported by the Iranian regime can be seen March 11 at a United Nations refugee camp in Herat city. [Omar]

"As most of these children don't have families in Afghanistan, they have faced serious problems," he said. "The Afghan government keeps dozens of these children at shelters until their relatives are identified."

"Children who are deported by the Iranian military suffer from psychological trauma," he added. "There are counsellors present at the Islam Qala border crossing to help these children. The Department of Refugees and Repatriations transfers the deported children from Islam Qala to Herat city and gives them food and clothes."

The children expelled from Iran are between 10 and 17 years old, said Nadem.

The Iranian government's arrest and deportation of Afghan children are inhumane and irreligious acts, said Abdul Qader Kamel, a political analyst in Herat city.

These violent acts by the Iranian forces breaches the ethics of neighbourliness, international humanitarian laws and accepted human-rights conventions, he added.

Oppression and violence

One night, the Iranian police locked up Gul Ahmad, 14, alone in a small vacant bathhouse without giving him food.

Ahmad said he had stepped out of his home in Mashhad to buy some bread when the police grabbed and deported him without informing his family.

"It was 8pm when the police arrested me and put me in the vacant bathhouse," said Ahmad.

"The next morning, the police took a number of other children and me to a place where they round up refugees... after a few days, the Iranian security forces took us to the Safid Sang camp, where we stayed for two nights, and then they took us to the Islam Qala border crossing and deported us," he said.

"We were very scared as the police were beating up all the Afghans at the camp," added Ahmad. "They had no mercy for children, the elderly or women and beat them up with sticks and cables."

Muhammad, 15, was arrested by Iranian police in Zahedan and deported to Afghanistan, also without the knowledge of his family.

"One day I came across a police patrol, and when I tried to escape, they fired at me," said Muhammad. "There were a few of us with some injured, and the police arrested us."

Police kept all the children in a disorderly, filthy place, and they did not give them water or food, he added.

"The Iranian police took 45,000 tomans [820 AFN or $11] from each of us, and then they sent us to Sarbaan camp in Zahedan city, where they again forced us to give them money," he said.

"The Iranian security forces were beating up the refugees and striking them with sticks and gun butts both at the camps and en route," added Muhammad.

"When we arrived at the Afghan border, we didn't have anything [any money] left with us as the Iranian police stripped us of everything," he said. "After we entered Afghanistan, the [Afghan] government gave us food and money and then sent us to a camp where it provided us food and clothes."

Inhumane acts

Authorities in Herat Province condemned the Iranian military's act of separating children from their families without notifying their relatives and called it a breach of humanitarian principles.

"Iran's deportation of Afghan children and adolescents without informing their families violates international conventions and mutual agreements between Afghanistan and Iran," said Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for the Herat governor.

The Afghan government expects the Iranian government to abide by mutual agreements between the two countries and to refrain from deporting women and children with no guardians, he said.

"The children whom Iran deports to Afghanistan face serious challenges because they are not familiar with the environment and have no family here," added Farhad.

"In addition to the children themselves facing many problems, the government agencies supporting children have a multitude of challenges as they can't find the families of these children and adolescents," he said.

"We have shared this issue with relevant agencies in Kabul, and we are hopeful that it is addressed through diplomatic channels and that the government of Iran is alerted to respect its mutual agreements with the Afghan government," said Farhad.

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6 Comment
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May God destroy all the mercenaries of the world-eating America all over the globe. With spreading of this false news among the oppressed people of Afghanistan, you serve as mercenaries of Americans.

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Poor Afghans neither have their good day inside Afghanistan nor outside of Afghanistan. The oppression or cruelty on these children and their families is unforgivable. May God destroy Iran and the Iranians.

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Iran is a very cruel country. I don't think any other country would do that to immigrants. The under age children cannot be arrested even for committing a crime. These tyrants separated them from their families and sent them to Afghanistan. For many days, it may have not been clear to their families as where their children were and why they did not return home? How much the families of these children might have suffered for days. Iranians have done a great cruelty to these children and their families.

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Indeed, it is not only Iran which should be blamed for this. Iran and Pakistan are apparent enemies of Afghanistan for the last 45 years. America and European countries which consider themselves friends of Afghanistan and claim that they have spent $102 billion and even $133 billion in Afghanistan should answer why an Afghan [citizen] is being forced even now to go for labor work to Iran and Pakistan? Why there is no security in Afghanistan? Well, we will accept that the Pakistani mercenary Taliban are making insecurity in the rural areas and they kill the people, why America and Afghan government together could not tighten security inside the cities and they could not make even basic factories for the people to work in? Leave $100 billion, if they give me even $10 billion, I will change Afghanistan to a paradise.

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The Afghan government must summon the Iranian ambassador in Kabul for this act of Iran, and ask him for clarity on why his country is doing this injustice to Afghan children. The Afghan government should also contact Afghan ambassador in Iran and order him to share this problem with Iranian officials in that country and urge them strictly to stop the expulsion of Afghan children from that country. This is a very great oppression or cruelty by the Iranian government against the Afghan refugees in that country.

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The Afghan government must cut its diplomatic ties with Iran. This country is not a good neighbor at all. I feel ashamed when high-ranking Afghan government officials sometimes call Iran a good neighbor and Pakistan an enemy. Now these officials must come and explain to the families of these poor children why Iran has been so cruel and tyrant to these families? Both Pakistan and Iran are seeking to ruin Afghanistan and they do not recognize Afghanistan as a country. To tell you the truth, Pakistan is not so cruel to Afghan refugees in a way as Iran and Iranians are to them. In fact, Pakistan has nothing to do with the immigrants. Death to the cruel Iran.

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