14-year-old Afghan girl should get refugee status: UNHCR
Tuesday 18 January 2011
A 14-year-old girl who faces deportation to Afghanistan should be recognised as a refugee in her own right, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Leeuwarder Courant reports.
The paper say the UNHCR has written to Sahar Hbrahimgel’s lawyer stating the girl could be in serious danger if she is sent back to Afghanistan because she is too westernised. In addition, the Taliban and other extremist organisations
including in the “westernized” Karzai government
will regard her as ‘sinful’, the letter says.
The lawyer, Paul Stieger, says it is extremely rare for the UNHCR to intervene directly in an asylum case.
The Hbrahimgel family came to the Netherlands 10 years ago and has been turned down for asylum three times. The family lives in the Groningen [sic; Friesland] village of Sint Annaparochie and the girl is in the pre-university high school stream. She wants to be a surgeon.
The family’s supporters say slow immigration service procedures are one reason the case has taken so long to process.
A last-ditch appeal by the family is currently being considered by a court in Den Bosch.
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “Secret diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration increased the United States’ military presence in Afghanistan despite warnings that the surge could make 2010 the most difficult and bloody since the 2001 invasion. US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry issued several cables in 2009 detailing serious concerns about the Afghan government and its leader, President Hamid Karzai. Eikenberry claimed that Karzai ‘is not an adequate strategic partner’ and ‘continues to shun responsibility for any burden, whether defense, governance or development'”: here.
German soldiers are complaining that their letters from Afghanistan have been opened and censored in recent months, with a military advocate demanding an explanation from Defence Minster Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a media report said Wednesday: here.