The decision to suspend deportation orders placed on Afghan asylum seekers who had previously been denied refugee status in Ireland is welcome given the current volatility in the region, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Barry Ward, Fine Gael’s Spokesperson on Justice, said, “Last week, the Taliban regained full control of Afghanistan, following the fall of Kabul and the collapse of the democratic government. The new regime has begun to implement strict Islamic law, strip away civil liberties and curtail human rights.
“In the last 48 hours, we have seen footage of crowds of Afghans swarming Kabul International Airport, desperately trying to escape the country. According to reports, people have fallen to their deaths after trying to cling to the wheels of American military planes. It is understandable that Afghans, many of whom lived under Taliban rule prior to their defeat in 2001, now fear the prospect of life under a regime that carries out public executions, cuts off the hands of thieves and encourages misogyny.
“In particular, there are now extremely valid concerns for the welfare of women in Afghanistan. The Taliban has explicitly enforced gender inequality, ranging from the mandatory covering of the body in public and a ban on photographs of women in the media, to public floggings, beatings and executions for what we would consider minor offences.
“There are approximately 50 Afghan citizens in Ireland currently in the International Protection System, who were set to be deported back to Afghanistan. For most of us, life under such a regime is difficult to imagine, but for those people, it will become a reality if we return them to Afghanistan. I welcome the announcement from the Department of Justice that there is “no question” that those Afghan citizens would actually be deported.
“As a member of the UN Security Council, it is incumbent on Ireland to show leadership, and to lead with empathy. I welcome the fact that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, has offered support to those fleeing Afghanistan. As a member of the international community, we must ensure that nobody is forcibly returned to a country where their basic rights and safety are compromised,” Senator Ward concluded.