Afghan refugees face increasing hostility
GENEVA - Afghan refugees are spilling out of their hostile neighbourhood and are turning up in large numbers in Europe, where doors are being slammed in their faces.
"This lack of hospitality - and in some cases downright hostility - is showing itself not just in the immediate region, but all across the world," a UNHCR spokesman said Tuesday.
Expressing concern at this development, the spokesman said five neighbouring countries have closed their borders to Afghan refugees despite civil conflict in some areas of Afghanistan, serious human rights abuses and drought.
Deportations of Afghans - the world's largest refugee group at 4 million - continue to be reported from Iran and Pakistan.
In Iran, a strict new law forbidding employers to use foreign labour has resulted in thousands of Afghans losing their jobs and triggered a wave of violence against them.
The number of Afghan asylum seekers outside the region has climbed dramatically over the past four years. Last year, Afghans sought asylum in 68 countries. In Europe, the arrival rate almost doubled in the past two years.
In industrialized countries, Afghans - like other asylum seekers - are facing an ever-growing barricade of exclusionary measures designed to keep them out, UNHCR said. In some countries they find themselves slapped straight into detention.