New refugee camp, KabulPakistan has ordered the expulsion of the some 60,000 Afghan refugees still on its territory to immediately repatriate on pain of arrest, as it struggles to put down a Taliban insurgency in the Tribal Areas along the border. Among the camps to be evacuated is that at Khewa, on the outskirts of Peshawar, where the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has had a substantial presence for over 20 years, promoting gender equality and secularism as well as carrying out educational, cultural and humanitarian work. RAWA in a Sept. 24 statement protests that the refugees will be returning to grim conditions in Afghanistan:
Where to live in Afghanistan when you have no land and money to build a house and the Afghan Government is too weak to help you in this regard? How to find a job there where the unemployment rate is over 60%? How to feed your children with the exorbitant rates where the price of 1 liter of liquid cooking gas is $1.5 and the prices of other commodities are sky-high? How to guarantee the safety of there be a school where your children may study?
The answers to these questions are here:
According the latest report by Afghan government, over 60% of the population live under poverty line, the daily income of most of the people is $1.00; 50% of the population don’t have access to drinking water and there are many such heart-wrenching statistics that make life worse for the refugees coming back to their country.
IRC, September 13, 2007: “Afghanistan is sliding ever further into conflict with more than half of the country affected and several regions out of reach of humanitarian aid.”
Afghanistan Education Ministry, September 8, 2007: “Taliban unrest shuts nearly 400 schools in Afghanistan; the closures meant that around 200,000 school children would not be able to attend classes in four provinces.”
BBC News, November 27, 2006: “More than half of Afghanistan’s children are not going to school because of a shortage of places and teachers, the aid agency Oxfam says. Girls in particular are losing out, with just one in five girls in primary education and one in 20 going to secondary school.”
Los Angeles Times, Sept. 13, 2007: As written by Richard Klein, a former State Department official, “in reality, Afghanistan feels more and more like Sept. 10, 2001, than a victory in the US war on terrorism.”
The statement notes that refugees expelled from Pakistan six months ago are still living in dismal camps they have established on the outskirts of Kabul. RAWA has issued an emergency call for funds to help the expelled Khewa refugees have a safe and dignified return to their country. The UNHCR gives $100 per person for transportation and other basic costs, but this does not begin to cover what is urgently needed for tents, blankets, warm clothes, firewood and potable water. RAWA says it needs to raise $194,500 by winter to meet the relocated refugees’ basic needs.
You can send your donation to RAWA by any one of the following methods of payment:
For Online Credit Card Donations: http://www.afghanwomensmission.org/help_us/donate.php
Make your payment at EMERGENCY RELIEF section.
Please make check or money order payable to IHC/Afghan Women’s Mission and mail it to:
The Afghan Women’s Mission
2460 North Lake Ave. PMB 207
Altadena, CA 91001
Bank wire transfers: To do a wire transfer to the Afghan Women’s Mission, please call AWM’s office at (626) 676-7884 to make arrangements.
Or sponsor the children who have been in RAWA schools at Khewa camp. You can do through http://www.chairtyhelp.org/rawa
See also RAWA’s statement on the seventh anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, Oct.7.