War-torn Afghanistan now safe enough to resume deportations, UK court rules
The ruling that Afghanistan is now safe enough for asylum seekers to be returned appears to defy evidence of the volatile situation in that country.
The Taliban has recaptured large swaths of the south over the last six months.
According to leaked document accessed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), even the Afghan government has pleaded with the UK authorities not to resume deportations.
The overturning of the blanket ban, imposed last year as violence in the country reached new heights, is a substantial victory for Theresa May.
The ban stemmed from a 2015 case brought by an Afghan asylum seeker known as HN, who arrived in Britain as a minor in 2007.
HN appealed against an Upper Tribunal ruling that said the Afghan capital, Kabul, was safe enough to return to, even if the provinces were wracked with violence.
“The Home Office’s intention now will be to remove people to Afghanistan, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve been hampered in their efforts to charter flights every month, which they’ve pushed in the past,” HN’s lawyer Toufique Hossain told the Bureau on Thursday.
“With the rise of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and frequent attacks by the Taliban giving rise to an internal armed conflict, our view is that these claimants have further claims for protection.”
Hossain swore that he and his colleagues would “not give up the fight for our clients.”
“They quite rightly will only want to return to that troubled country if and when it is safe,” he added.
On Friday, a day after May’s triumph in the court of appeal, Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee called for more asylum seekers to be housed in Tory-run regions of the UK – including Home Secretary’s own constituency of Maidenhead.
MPs said too many local authorities are shirking their responsibility and should be pressured by ministers to take part in the Voluntary Dispersal Scheme.
“The dispersal system appears unfair, with whole swaths of the country never receiving a single asylum seeker,” said committee Chair Keith Vaz.
While Glasgow, Stoke and Cardiff have taken in many asylum seekers, “local authorities in areas such as Maidenhead, Lincoln and Warwick have housed none,” he said.