U.N. Accuses U.S. Ally Pakistan of Forcing Refugees Back to Afghanistan, in Violation Of International Law

December 13, 2001

A potential humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Afghanistan’s largest refugee camp as new arrivals from outlying villages pour daily into a camp already filled with more than 200,000 refugees.

At least 10,000 people have arrived at the Maslakh camp in the last two weeks from outlying villages, according tothe International Organization for Migration (IOM), which supervises it.

The latest arrivals have strained the camp’s limited resources and increased the risk of disease, hunger and exposureto the cold. A refugee worker said that there are many more thousands coming and that the camp was in an emergency.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the United Nations accused Iran and U.S. ally Pakistan of forcibly repatriating Afghanrefugees in violation of international law. U.N. officials believe several thousand people have been pushed acrossthe border near the city of Herat.

We’re joined right now by Sarah Zaidi, who has just returned from refugee camps in Pakistan. She was shocked todiscover that Pakistan does not give Afghan refugees official refugee status, and regularly deports them. That is inviolation of international law.


  • Sarah Zaidi, research director, Center for Economic and Social Rights. She just returned from Pakistan,where she visited refugee camps.

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