I’m continuing to work on my research assignment for Afghan refugees. As I continue to research I understand more and more why this project is so important. So many programs existed for Afghan refugees directly following the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan but are no longer active or are increasingly hard to qualify for. Additionally, many countries have attempted to limit or restrict resettlement and asylum programs due to the large number of refugees currently seeking asylum/resettlement, especially given the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees.
There exist numerous other regulations for people seeking asylum that add yet another layer of difficulty. For example, in the EU, there is something called the Dublin III Regulation. Essentially it means that if a refugee applies for asylum in one EU country, that country may send them to another EU country if it is determined that that other country has a better claim over the asylum application. One EU country can send a refugee to another EU country for numerous reasons. For example, if a refugee first came to one EU state before applying for asylum in another, their asylum application may be sent back to the state they first landed in. This situation can happen regardless of whether or not a refugee ever intended to stay in that first EU state or if it was just the most convenient place to seek temporary refuge upon fleeing their home state. From my research, it seems like this regulation is another roadblock for those seeking safe places to resettle. It can prolong the process for months, it disregards refugees’ wishes, and there is no guarantee that the EU state to which the asylum application is sent will accept the refugee.
I would love for there to always be clear, favorable answers that could provide refugees with concrete paths to resettlement. Still, I recognize that hitting dead ends or finding unfavorable answers is just part of the research process. The many roadblocks and the complexity of resettlement/asylum pose big problems to refugees, who may lack access to legal help or information that could provide reliable answers. This is a big reason why compiling this list is so crucial. Being confronted with the scale of this project and all the work it takes makes me thankful for the experience and grateful that I can provide help in any way.
There have been several positive findings throughout my research. Several countries do have specific programs for Afghan refugees that are still ongoing. Knowing that there are at least some avenues for refugees seeking resettlement is uplifting, even though there is still much more work to be done. I have also found numerous pro bono resources for refugees seeking help with things like asylum applications and appealing unfavorable Dublin III Restriction decisions.
I look forward to continuing my research and seeing what else I can find!