Dear UNHCR Authorities,
Seeking Asylum is a human right, Without any discrimination!
Afghan refugees just want justice! Neither low nor high
Afghans refugees are the Second largest irregular refugee group in Turkey. Most have fled the war in Afghanistan. Until now, refugees from Afghanistan numbered around 20 thousand and made a sizable proportion of Turkey’s registered migrants. Most of them were spread out over 50 satellite cities, with the following being the specific locations.
Over the years, the number of Afghans entering Turkey has greatly increased. By the end 2012, with the increase of war and violence in Afghanistan, making them the largest refugee group, surpassing all other groups.
Afghan refugees are victims of the Afghan government’s propaganda, which makes the UNHCR think that Afghanistan has become safe and its refugees need little assistance. This mindset from your organization toward Afghan refugees confirms what people say about the UNHCR – that it is an institution that doesn’t truly respect human rights. Because of this approach by the UNHCR, a large number of Afghan refugees have lost their lives as they have chosen to independently and illegalty smuggle themselves to EU member countries.
When it comes to Afghan refugees in Turkey, we believe that UNHCR chooses not to uphold the rights of these refugees, and refuses to comply with its own mandate. Refugee applications take far too long to process, and living conditions for refugees are untenable.
Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, we live with lies and broken promises of change, and when change comes, it is for the worse and not for the better. Nothing improves despite all the negotiations.
It is hard to imagine that in the peak of the world modernization, some groups of people are locked in a small place and denied the freedom of movement, not allowed to leave the city, not allowed to work, not allowed to Not allowed for our special ceremonies and etc.
We believe in human values and human rights and generosity. We believe in freedom, justice, peace, democracy and equality. We believe that people who fight for justice and against oppression are heroes, like you. We believe that you are a role model, and you will affect generations to come.
But we are also the witness of UNHCR staff sometimes working to the detriment of Afghan refugees. This incident shows the quality of work the UNHCR staff in Ankara performs for Afghan refugees.
We are the witness of the discrimination againest the Afghan refugees inside the UNHCR country office in Ankara, the other refugees who have ragestred in UNHCR, waiting normaly for 2 years, but the Afghan refugees must wait more than 5 years. There is no one to answer this quistion?
We are the witness of the cases of many Afghan refugees are in the Specific Acceptance status or in Turkish (Özel Kabul). We demand to know why the UNHCR just targeted this to Afghan refugees not others.
We are the witness of UNHCR suspend to work for new arrival Afghan refugees to Turkey for 6 mounths, It is also targeting Afghan refugees. Why all the times targeting Afghan refugees in Turkey?
We do not accept such inattention and violations of the rights of Afghan refugees, and we, jointly with Afghan refugees all over of Turkey, therefore make the following demands:
• UNHCR must explain why the cases of Afghan refugees in Turkey take significantly longer to process compared to those of other refugees
• UNHCR must explain why the case of many Afghan refugees, which have been accepted already by UNHCR, are suspended within 5 years.
• UNHCR must explain why UNHCR suspend to work for new arrival Afghan refugees to Turkey for 6 mounths.
We, the Afghan refugees, have been patient for a very long time, waiting for a change in our files. We have been silent since the UNHCR office inaugurated in Turkey and relied solely on you and your staff, but unfortunately, in the last few years, nothing has changed for us, instigating us to start the protest.
We expect the UNHCR to immediately take measures to address these demands. The process of granting prima facie status to Afghan refugees must be fast-tracked. Anything less is unacceptable and will be met with continued public protests and action, including legal action, against the UNHCR.
We fear the day when our refugees, despondent about their prospects here, decide to go to the EU en masse. Thus, it is a need that your office takes urgent measures to solve these problems. We think it is time that your office rightly addresses this issue before it is too late. Otherwise, we will ask the international community to help Afghan refugees to change the political line of the UNHCR.
The current situation of Afghan refugees in Turkey, which has been ongoing for years, is not now nor has it ever been acceptable. Our Coordination Group will continue to campaign until human rights violations cease and our refugees are protected by the UNHCR according to its mandate.
We hope to see some positive changes about the problems and concerns we have raised here. Thank you in advance for considering this open letter in a positive way; otherwise, we will be compelled to send it all of human rights organizations and the UNHCR headquarters.
In conclusion, we thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. We are eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken.
Afghan Refugees in Turkey