Exodus from Afghanistan: UN organization IOM criticized

Exodus from Afghanistan: UN organization IOM criticized

Status: 08/25/2021 at 12:26 PM.

The evacuation of local Afghan workers was very late and is chaotic. This could also be due to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – a UN organization that is being heavily criticized.

By Rebecca Cizelsky, Peter Hornung, Arne Meyer-Funfinger, Ann-Katherine Vetter, BR

Without local staff like him, the Bundeswehr would have been lost in Afghanistan: Farhad, who only wants to be called here by his first name. For ten years he worked as a translator for German soldiers. A few weeks ago, when it gradually became clear that the Taliban would come to power again in Afghanistan, he decided to leave Afghanistan.

“When the Bundeswehr began to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, they gave us an email address – from the IOM offices in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif. They told us that we would send them an email, so that we could receive assistance on departure. “

IOM stands for International Organization for Migration, it is part of the United Nations system. According to its own statements, the Foreign Office in Berlin designates the IOM as a “service provider”. In Afghanistan, for example, the Bundeswehr distributed an information leaflet to local employees. It read: “If you wish to travel to Germany, please contact the IOM in Kabul in advance.” The IOM then provides information on how to proceed: “when you are allowed to enter” and “whom to contact”.

No response from IOM – till date

Not only Farhad, but other colleagues also turned to IOM and emailed the filled out documents: “We should have filled out two forms, we did that and sent them to IOM. But unfortunately there was no response. To date.” ”

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Farhad is now safe in Copenhagen. He had also served for the Danish army a year earlier. He drove him and his family out of Afghanistan within 24 hours. The behavior of Germany and the IOM disappointed him, he says.

Marcus Grotian from “Sponsorship Network Afghan Local Employees” is no different. He is in close contact with the locals: “They went there, it was still being renovated. The staff was still being trained and they were told that the first visa process would start in mid-August. ”

“Speculative claim” rejected

According to the calculations of their “sponsorship network”, a total of 8,000 people – local workers and their families – will have to leave Afghanistan. The IOM offices responsible for them in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country were never physically accessible or unable to house workers. “Personally, I would be extremely surprised if the visa process was ever started at the IOM office,” Grotian said.

Speaks on IOM NS-Interrogation not on the subject of Afghanistan “for security reasons”. In writing, the Geneva-based organization reports only: “We strongly reject speculative allegations about the work of the IOM. Please address your inquiries to the authorities in Germany.”

The Foreign Office emphasizes that more than 2,400 visas have already been issued for local employees and nuclear family members. The transmission of travel data prior to departure was not a condition for entering Germany.

Criticism of lawyers and opposition

Still, some lawyers criticize the work of the IOM – not just in Afghanistan. IOM provides a variety of services in the context of international migration. For example, the Foreign Office commissioned the IOM to repatriate people to their home countries, make migration routes “safe” or repatriate former Al Shabaab fighters to Somalia.

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Cologne’s lawyer Kerstin Müller knows the IOM from many of its mandates: “For example, the IOM is involved in visa procedures for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan through the Foreign Office and providing first appointments for visa applications.” does.” Often, according to the experience of the Cologne migration lawyer, the IOM does not forward documents on time. For Müller, the reason for this is not understood in all cases.

Elsewhere, too, the lawyer finds it difficult to understand the organisation’s behavior: “It is completely opaque how appointments are handed out by the IOM and I do not know from the IOM when documents are sent to the German authorities.” Her Verdict: “I’m very unhappy with IOM.”

Federal Government: Service Not Provided

In the case of Afghanistan, even Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karenbauer expresses her criticism of the organization. In a letter to members of the German Bundestag, NS Available, the CDU politician wrote a few days ago that IOM “could not provide the contractually promised service due to the deteriorating overall situation at the site.”

In defending local workers, not only did the IOM fail, but also the federal government, so Greens foreign policy spokesman Omid Nuripore said in an interview. NS: “The fact that the federal government is now trying, for example, through the federal Minister of Defense, to offload part of its failure to the IOM, is a transparent hoax game.” In his opinion, the federal government bears a great deal of responsibility for the fact that to date those people who are also dependent on the IOM’s help have not been able to leave the country.

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As confirmed by the Taliban government, evacuation should be possible only by August 31. It is now almost impossible for Afghans to reach the airport in Kabul.

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