Afgha­nis flee di­vided na­tion in their mil­lions

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE STARS -

AFGHANISTAN’S his­tory is a com­plex one lit­tered with con­flicts, changes of gov­ern­ments and, in the past 30 years, a mass ex­o­dus of its peo­ple. The United Na­tions has re­ported that as many as 10 mil­lion Afghans have fled the coun­try over a 30-year pe­riod. Since 2002, 5.8 mil­lion Afghan refugees have re­turned to Afghanistan.

Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner on Refugees, Afghan refugees still con­sti­tute the sec­ond-largest refugee group, and the group also rep­re­sents about 18% of the global refugee pop­u­la­tion.

The So­lu­tions Strat­egy for Afghan Refugees re­port found that although Afghan refugees are dis­persed across more than 70 coun­tries, an over­whelm­ing 95% (about 2.5 mil­lion) con­tinue to be hosted by just two coun­tries – Iran and Pak­istan.

The re­port also found half of the Afghan refugee pop­u­la­tion is chil­dren younger than 18.

“(It’s) a fact that un­der­lines the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of the dis­placed com­mu­ni­ties and stresses the need for ur­gent, pri­ori­tised re­sponses,” the re­port stated.

The re­port also found that Tur­key re­mained the prin­ci­pal des­ti­na­tion for Afghan asy­lum-seek­ers in 2014, with 15,700 ap­pli­ca­tions, fol­lowed by Ger­many (9100), Hun­gary (8500), Aus­tria (5100), and In­done­sia (3600).

Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment fig­ures show that in 2014–2015, 1604 Afghan off­shore Con­ven­tion refugees were re­set­tled to Aus­tralia.

The Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade web­site stated Afghanistan-Aus­tralia re­la­tions could be traced back to the 1860s when Afghan cameleers came to Aus­tralia.

For half a cen­tury, the cameleers played a cru­cial role in the ex­plo­ration and devel­op­ment of the Aus­tralian out­back, fer­ry­ing sup­plies across the con­ti­nent. The Ade­laide to Dar­win train, the Ghan, is named in their hon­our.

Afghanistan has had 20 dif­fer­ent flags since 1709. The cur­rent flag has black, red and green ver­ti­cal stripes with a mosque and coat of arms em­blem in the mid­dle.

PHOTO: HEDAYATULLAH AMID/EPA

Afghan chil­dren re­ceive win­ter re­lief goods pro­vided by the World Food Pro­gram in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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