Dozens of Afghan nationals staged a peaceful rally in front of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in New Delhi to protest the “unknown fate” of their asylum applications in European countries.
Figures by Afghanistan’s Embassy in India show that at least 15,000 Afghans have applied for asylum to Europe, Canada and the USA.
One protestor, Wazhma, said thousands of Afghans are living in New Delhi with the hope that their applications will be processed by the UN office as soon as possible.
The protestors carried banners which read “India is not our final destination” and “refugees have basic rights”.
They said that the rally was launched to mark the World Refugee Day and attract the attention of the UN and the Indian government towards the “miserable” conditions of the Afghans living in New Delhi.
“We have not received any help,” said Wazhma, an Afghan refugee in India. “We gathered here to share our problems. We urge the United Nation to assess our problems. None of the [European countries] has accepted us so far and the UN is not helping us.”
“No one hears our voices here. The UN office should help us and hear our voices. It is not clear that either our asylum will be accepted or rejected after five or 15 years. If we are rejected, we should pay fine to India government because we do not have a visa,” another Afghan refugee, Sonia, said.
Another Afghan national, Aminullah, 40, said he is living in New Delhi with his family for the past four years, waiting for their asylum application to be accepted.
“There are hundreds of families like me who are living in India in an uncertain situation and the UN is not taking care of them,” Aminullah said.
Afghan diplomats in India said the embassy of Afghanistan was not involved in holding the protest.
“This protest was launched by refugees in New Delhi. Afghanistan’s embassy does not interfere in such affairs, but [the embassy] is always ready to provide consultancy services to them,” said Humayun Nezami, the first secretary of the embassy.
Figures by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation show that almost six million Afghans have left the country over the past 17 years as the conflicts and violence continue in the country.