Calls on EU to halt child returns to Afghanistan

Kabul – The aid group Save the Children has called on EU nations to halt the return of Afghan children back to the war-torn country, where they face threats of attack and recruitment by armed groups.

The organization surveyed 57 Afghan child returnees from Europe and found that nearly three-quarters “did not feel safe during the return.”
Nearly half arrived in Afghanistan alone or were escorted by police.

After the return

Almost one in five said that after their return someone had tried to recruit them to fight in combat, commit acts of violence or engage with an armed group.

Many others spoke of discrimination, insecurity and sadness, according to the report.

Abandoning responsibility

“EU states are abandoning their responsibility to protect and support incredibly vulnerable children virtually as soon as they set foot in Afghanistan,” Save the Children’s European Migration Senior Advocacy Advisor Karen Mets said.

Between January 1 and September 30, 2018, the UN assistance mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded 653 children killed and 1,483 injured due to conflict.

According to Eurostat data, 4,260 Afghans returned from the EU to Afghanistan in 2017 and approximately 8,000 in 2016.