Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-17-00

Pakistan, Tajikistan Close Borders to Afghan Refugees

On November 10, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry closed its borders to Afghan refugees after a month-long influx of 30,000 people, raising the number of Afghans living in Pakistan to 2.1 million. Pakistan, population 140 million, has been the sole harborer of Afghan refugees since 1995 when the United Nations ceased providing food and shelter relief to Afghans and focused only on health and education aid due to a decreased budget. Rueters reported that, on November 9, Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province barred all new refugees; the province housed 1.2 million of the 1.5 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan at the time, as it borders on a drought-stricken segment of Afghanistan that is the focus of armed conflict between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. In September, Tajikistan closed its border as well, following the Taliban’s capture of Taloqan when 70,000 Afghans fled.

Afghanistan’s drought was expected to prompt thousands more people to flee into Pakistan and other neighboring countries. The World Food Program predicted as many as 1 million Afghan people could face starvation this winter. Already, entire villages have been forced to relocate after losing crops and herds to the drought. Pakistan cited “security and economic considerations” as reasons for the border closures.

Refugees from Afghanistan report fear of abuses at the hands of the Taliban, as well as grenade attacks and aerial bombardment that have accompanied the fighting in the region between the Taliban and the United Front. Human Rights Watch has confirmed cases of abuse at the hands of the Taliban, including detentions of suspected United Front supporters, summary executions of prisoners, and forced conscription. It also reports that the closing of borders and the denying of asylum to refugees fleeing persecution is a violation of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which Tajikistan signed. In addition, it violates customary international law, making Pakistan liable as well, especially considering the fact that Pakistan is suspected of supplying military and monetary support to the Taliban. In fact, Islamic seminaries in Pakistan have been an important source or recruitment for the Taliban, Human Rights Watch says.

The Taliban has imposed a brutal system of gender apartheid in Afghanistan, forcing women and girls into a state of virtual house arrest. Little has been done within the international community to alleviate the situation. Afghanistan has the largest refugee population in the world, with more people fleeing every day and a bitter winter ahead during a horrific drought. Complicating the matter, oil interests could favor the Taliban, as many countries and companies want plans on a trans-regional pipeline to move forward. According to the Afghan Press, Pakistan’s energy minister promised a “safe route” for an Iran-India pipeline, and called for a regional energy alliance encompassing Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbajan and Afghanistan.

Read about the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and join the Feminist Majority Foundation’s efforts to increase humanitarian aid to the region, deny Taliban recognition by the United States, the United Nations, and other bodies, and to restore the right to work, to attend school and to move freely to the women and girls of Afghanistan.

Media Resources: Associated Press – November 10, 2000 and Reuters News Service November 9 and 10, 2000 and Afghan Press – November 9, 2000 and Human Rights Watch – November 11, 2000


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

3/25/2015 Afghan Woman Beaten to Death for Burning Koran - A 27-year-old woman ‎who reportedly burned a copy of the Koran inside of a riverside shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan was brutally beaten and burned alive on Thursday. Shocking videos quickly spread on social media showing crowds of men surrounded by hundreds of onlookers assaulting the 27-year-old Farkhunda with bricks and sticks and repeatedly kicking her. . . .
 
3/25/2015 Masked Intruder Attacks Last Abortion Clinic Standing in Mississippi - In the early hours of the morning Monday, a person in a mask wielding what appeared to be a machete attacked the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. The clinic revealed in a post on their website the details of the attack on what is affectionately referred to by staff and community members as The Pink House. . . .
 
3/17/2015 Vice President Biden Pledges 41 Million to Clear Rape Kit Backlog - Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Mikulski (D-MD) spoke yesterday at a Maryland State Police Laboratory to declare their support for a $41 million budget proposal to combat the national backlog of rape kits. "Testing rape kits should be an absolute priority for the United States of America," Vice President Biden said, referring to the estimated 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. . . .