Afghan asylum seeker, 21, to be forcibly repatriated despite brothers' murders

A 21-year-old Afghan asylum seeker whose brothers were killed by the and whose father disappeared was set to be deported from Australia to Kabul on Tuesday despite a wave of violence in the city that has left more than 50 dead.

The man, known as R to protect his identity, was told on Tuesday to gather his possessions ahead of his forced removal from the country.

Friends said the man was “terrified” of being returned to .

R fled his home in Logar province in 2011 after the Taliban threatened his family because he had attended a vocational school that was seen to be sympathetic to western ideas.

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After three threatening letters, R’s father and uncle disappeared – neither have ever been found – and R’s mother urged him to leave the country. He came by boat to Australia, and lived in the community for three years before being redetained by immigration authorities.

Since coming to Australia, R’s family has continued to be threatened, and his two younger brothers were murdered in a Taliban ambush in 2013.

R is a Shia Muslim and an ethnic Tajik, both minorities targeted by the Sunni Pashtun Taliban.

But R has no legal avenue to contest his forced deportation. His legal challenges have been exhausted and Australia’s migration system does not permit any further merit reviews of his case, or allow for the consideration of new circumstances, such as the targeted killing of his brothers.

“The current legal system that exists in Australia for processing refugee claims doesn’t allow any mechanism to reopen cases after a final decision has been made,” said Victoria Martin-Iverson, an advocate who has supported R in hearings.

“Not even if that decision was several years ago, and not even in the face of dramatic events in country of origin. It is quite clear that there has been a significant deterioration in the security situation in Kabul. It is also clear this young man faces risk of persecution and possibly even death.

“There is something desperately amiss with the refugee assessment process and the limitations on further appeals if a young man from an ethnic and religious minority can be forcibly returned to a nation at war.”

A spokeswoman for the immigration and border protection department said R “currently has no ongoing matters before the department”.

“People who have exhausted all avenues to remain in Australia and have no lawful basis to stay are expected to depart.”

The spokeswoman said the Australian border force conducted comprehensive risk assessments before removing people from Australia, using, alongside external information, country information provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The spokeswoman said: “Australia does not return people to their country of citizenship where this would contravene our obligations under international human rights instruments Australia is party to, including the Convention.”

Afghanistan has forced repatriations from other countries, such as Sweden, and appears reluctant to accept to Australia’s forced deportations.

A previous attempt to deport R last month failed because the Afghan embassy refused to grant visas to the escorts who were to take him back.

The first Afghan forcibly deported by Australia, a Hazara man called Zainullah Naseri who was sent back last year, was reportedly kidnapped and beaten by the Taliban before he escaped.

Kabul airport, where R will land, was targeted by a Taliban suicide bomber on Monday. The explosion at a security checkpoint killed five people and injured 16, mainly civilians, including at least one child.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack but said the bomb was intended to kill a convoy of foreigners.

That attack followed a deadly week in the troubled Afghan capital. More than 50 people were killed in Kabul, in three separate attacks, on Friday alone.

Early in the morning, a truck bomb was detonated near an army base in Shah Shahid, in the south-east of the capital, killing 15. At least 240 people were injured in one of the biggest explosions ever witnessed in the city.

That evening, a suicide bomber killed 20 police recruits at Kabul’s police academy, and later gunmen attacked Camp Integrity, a Nato base near the airport that houses US special forces, killing 11 people, including an American soldier.

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The road to R’s insurgency-prone home province of Logar, south of Kabul, was by the Taliban. Six died.

The recent surge in violence has highlighted a broader trend: 2015 has been one of Afghanistan’s deadliest postwar years.

In the first six months of 2015, the UN documented 4,921 civilian casualties, including 1,592 people killed, a 1% increase on last year’s record number. A quarter of the civilian casualties were children.

And the violence is expected to continue.

Since the Taliban confirmed the death of its leader, Mullah Omar, last week, some fighters have pledged allegiance to the new chief, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. But others are resisting, and an internecine power struggle within the Taliban could derail the fragile peace talks under way between it and the Afghan government.

“We suspect the upsurge in violence may be triggered by the succession battle within the Taliban,” Nicholas Haysom, head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, .

Source : theguardian[dot]com
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