Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Emirati authorities on Wednesday of arbitrarily detaining for more than 15 months as many as 2,700 Afghan evacuees who have not qualified for resettlement elsewhere.
Many of the Afghans in Emirates Humanitarian City are suffering from depression and other psychological ailments, have no access to legal counsel, and have inadequate educational services for their children, an HRW report said. "Living conditions have also deteriorated significantly, with detainees describing overcrowding, decay of infrastructure, and insect infestations," the report said of the facility in Abu Dhabi.
Private evacuation groups and the Emirati military flew thousands of Afghans into the UAE during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan that ended 20 years of war. Between 2,500 and 2,700 Afghans, however, did not qualify for resettlement elsewhere and as of January remained in what the HRW report called "arbitrary detention." HRW called on the UAE to immediately release the Afghans, allow them access to "fair and individualized" processing to determine their refugee status and protection requirements, and permit them to live where they want until their cases are resolved.
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