‘UAE arbitrarily detaining 2,400 Afghans’
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is arbitrarily detaining at least 2,400 Afghan asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.
The adults and children being held at a makeshift facility in Abu Dhabi were evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover in August 2021.
HRW said they were living in “cramped, miserable conditions” and “stranded in limbo” with no hope of being resettled.
The UAE denied that conditions were poor and said it was working with the US to finish the resettlement process.
More than 10,000 other Afghans who were flown to the UAE have reportedly been resettled in the US, Canada and elsewhere, while a further 70,000 were evacuated directly to the US before American troops left Kabul.
The Afghans flown to Abu Dhabi following the Taliban takeover were housed in two converted apartment complexes known as Emirates Humanitarian City and Tasameem Workers City.
They reported constraints on their freedom of movement, lack of access to fair and effective refugee status determination, lack of adequate access to legal counsel, inadequate education for children, and no psychosocial support.
The detainees also described overcrowding, decaying infrastructure and insect infestations, according to the US-based campaign group.
One unnamed Afghan was quoted as saying that Emirates Humanitarian City was “exactly like a prison”, while another described a “widespread mental health crisis among residents”. —AFP