EU accused of ‘staggering neglect’ after only 271 Afghan refugees resettled last year

EU accused of ‘staggering neglect’ after only 271 Afghan refugees resettled last year
The International Rescue Committee has slammed the EU for resettling a mere 271 of 270,000 Afghan refugees in 2022.
2 min read
31 May, 2023
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee from their country over the past few years [Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]

Only 271 Afghans were resettled in the European Union in 2022 - a meagre 0.1 percent of the 270,000 asylum seekers in need of protection, a recent study has revealed.

The damning report, released by the International Rescue Committee, has accused the EU of "staggering neglect" of Afghan refugees, as thousands remain stuck in dire, "prison-like" conditions. 

Not a single person has been resettled under a German initiative to welcome 1,000 refugees per month since last October. Italy’s programme, which sought to welcome 1200 Afghan refugees a month, has seen only half that number of arrivals. 

Ninety percent of the Afghan refugees supported by the rights group experienced anxiety, according to the report, while 86 percent experienced depression. 

"This report highlights staggering neglect of Afghans by the member states of the European Union, which puts them at risk at every step of their journeys in search of protection," said David Miliband, the head of the International Rescue Committee. 

"While some states’ well-intentioned plans to bring Afghans to safety have hit repeated delays and obstacles, other countries have failed to make any pledges at all, or to guarantee adequate protection and inclusion for the tiny proportion of Afghan refugees who manage to reach Europe," he added. 

Live Story

Miliband said that the EU’s response in dealing with the more than 8 million people fleeing Ukraine showed that Europe can deliver lasting solutions. 

"There is simply no excuse for treating Afghans, and refugees forced from their homes elsewhere, any differently,” he said. 

Some 41,500 Afghans have been admitted into the EU through emergency measures and humanitarian admissions, including during the evacuations from Kabul following the Taliban’s rise to power.

Afghanistan has faced a series of compounded crises and conflicts since the 1980s. At the moment, Afghans are struggling with an acute economic crisis, and the UN said that some 24.4 million people - more than half the population - are in humanitarian need.