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Afghanistan: Refugees Situation Trapped

Afghanistan: Refugees Situation Trapped In "No Man's Land" Escalating

10 January 2002

The unknown fate of 7,000 refugees currently trapped in "no man's land" opposite Pakistan's Chaman border clearly shows that the situation in Afghanistan is still volatile and not conducive to the safe return of refugees, Amnesty International said today.

The situation has rapidly deteriorated over the past week with the number of refugees unable to access the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Killi Faizo transit camp increasing from 3,000 to 7,000.

The UNHCR reported that refugees fleeing unstable Afghanistan are stranded in dire situations with no food supply, shelter or adequate sanitary conditions.

Amnesty International repeated its calls on the Pakistani authorities to keep borders open to allow refugees to register with the UNHCR so that they can receive adequate assistance. The international community should support Pakistan in its effort to protect and assist refugees by sharing the responsibility of tackling the refugee crisis.

Amnesty International believes that refugees should be allowed to cross the borders without any discrimination and settle in safe and secure conditions away from the border. There should be fair and adequate screening processes to ensure that refugee camps are not infiltrated by armed elements.

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