FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2023
Spencer Tilger | firstname.lastname@example.org
IRAP Calls for Immediate Halt to Forced Removals of Afghans from Pakistan
Afghan Allies Who Worked for U.S. Mission Among Those Affected
(New York, NY) – The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) condemns the government of Pakistan’s forcible return of Afghan refugees to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. This campaign of deportation and intimidation violates international law and endangers the lives of countless refugees, including IRAP’s clients.
More than four million Afghans have fled to Pakistan to escape decades of war, conflict, and the most recent Taliban takeover. In the last few weeks, tens of thousands of Afghans have already been illegally expelled by Pakistan and more than 1.7 million may be affected. This includes refugees referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and Afghan allies eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) due to their work with the U.S. government. Sending them to the Taliban amounts to a death sentence.
“IRAP calls on Pakistan to immediately halt its illegal deportation campaign, and for the United States government to use all diplomatic means to demand that the Pakistani government end these forced removals and permit the safe return of those already removed,” said Sunil Varghese, IRAP Policy Director. “The United States made a promise to protect at-risk Afghans. A significant number of Afghans in Pakistan are eligible for U.S. visas and refugee resettlement, and it is imperative for the United States to do everything in its power to protect the lives of Afghans who have been waiting in precarious conditions for years.”
Legal Efforts to Hold the U.S. Accountable for its Responsibility to SIV Applicants
IRAP represents Afghans in Pakistan who worked for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and who have been waiting for years for the U.S. government to process their visas so they can live safely and securely in the United States. This population is especially at risk of Taliban reprisal if forced to return to Afghanistan due to their U.S. affiliation. If Pakistan does not reverse its illegal action, IRAP’s clients will be at grave risk.
SIV applicants whose cases have been severely delayed are also represented by IRAP in the class action lawsuit Afghan & Iraqi Allies v. Blinken. Tomorrow, IRAP will argue in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Court should reject the U.S. government’s latest attempt to get out of its legal obligation to adjudicate SIV applications in a timely manner. The hearing can be attended in person or live-streamed on YouTube.
- Affected Afghan nationals in Pakistan can call the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts (CARE) hotline: +1 (757) 916-4100
- Read the Evacuate Our Allies coalition statement: HERE
- Live-stream the Allies hearing on Friday, November 2 at 9:30am ET: HERE
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.