German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the international community should ensure humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to decrease the migration of Afghans into neighboring countries and to Europe.
Talking alongside her Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyib Erdogan on Saturday in Istanbul, Merkel said Afghans should not become victims of human traffickers and smugglers.
“We also talked about the issue of Afghanistan. So that people from Afghanistan do not become victims of smugglers and traffickers, we must ensure that humanitarian aid is provided in Afghanistan,” Merkel said.
Merkel and Erdogan also talked about bilateral relations and an EU-Turkey agreement addressing illegal migration in Europe.
Merkel’s visit to Turkey follows a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that accused Turkish authorities of violating international law by mistreating Afghan refugees who try to cross from the Iranian border into Turkey.
HRW, quoting Afghan refugees who returned from the border, reported that Turkish authorities mistreat the refugees who try to seek safety in Turkey. According to the report, Turkish forces collectively expel Afghans in groups of 50 to 300 back into Iran.
“Turkish authorities are denying Afghans trying to flee to safety the right to seek asylum. Turkish soldiers are also brutally mistreating the Afghans while unlawfully pushing them back,” said Belkis Wille, a senior crisis and conflict researcher at HRW.
HRW said it hopes Merkel would push the Turkish government to end the expulsion of Afghans and investigate allegations of collective expulsions.
Following the collapse of the former government in August 15 and the economic downturn in the country, many Afghans are trying to migrate into neighboring countries as well as into Europe.