Human Rights Watch says over 2,000 Afghan evacuees in detention in UAE

 Human Rights Watch 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, a Human Rights Watch report (HRW) 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.

A UAE official told reporters that the UAE continues to work with the United States and other international partners to resettle remaining evacuees in a timely manner as per the original agreement. The official did not comment on the accusation that the Afghans were being detained.

Private evacuation groups and the Emirati military flew thousands of Afghans into the UAE during the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan that ended 20 years of war.

Several private groups continued chartered evacuation flights after the U.S. departure.

Human Rights Watch 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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