In recent weeks, Turkey has deported 7,100 Afghan citizens, and at least 2,000 more are detained and at risk of deportation. Detainees report being pressured to “accept” a return to Afghanistan.
At least 2,000 Afghans who fled to Turkey to escape conflict are in detention and at imminent risk of being forced back to danger. The Turkish authorities appear to be ramping up a deportation spree that has seen 7,100 Afghans rounded up and returned to Afghanistan since early April.
The Turkish authorities claim returns to Afghanistan are voluntary. However, detainees say they are being informed that they will be sent back to Afghanistan, and pressured to sign documents written only in Turkish, which they are unable to understand. These documents could be “voluntary repatriation forms,” which Turkish authorities have previously used in coercive circumstances with Syrian and other refugees.
Confidential sources state that Afghans are presented with a “choice” between deportation and detention. Although some people – especially families – were reportedly able to seek asylum and then released, the people with whom Amnesty International spoke said that their requests to do so have been ignored.
Call on the Turkish authorities to immediately release all Afghans who are being arbitrarily detained; ensure Afghans have access to national asylum procedures; and halt all returns to Afghanistan, until they can take place in safety and dignity.