When international donors and the Afghan government convene in Brussels next week, the EU secretly plans to threaten Afghanistan with a reduction in aid if the war-torn country does not accept at least 80,000 deported asylum seekers.
According to a leaked restricted memo (pdf), the EU will make some of its aid ‚Äúmigration sensitive‚ÄĚ, even while acknowledging that security in Afghanistan is worsening.
Let’s be absolutely clear here: deporting people from Europe to Afghanistan harms them. The evidence of the enormous individual benefits of migration is – at this point – pretty irrefutable. At the very least, sending people to a poor conflict ridden country condemns them to a lower lifetime income, fewer opportunities, worse health outcomes and shorter lives (the average life expectancy – unweighted – in Europe is 78, in Afghanistan it is 60). Even worse, deported people face persecution and violent deaths. If we send 80,000 people back to Afghanistan, some of them will die unnecessarily and many more will ¬†suffer.
I understand that countries have to deport people sometimes. But when these nasty, cynical policies are tied to development aid, those aid policies are forever tainted. It is another worrying sign that EU aid is being used to harm and endanger the very people it should be helping.
When I saw¬†Alfonso Cuar√≥n’s adaptation of PD James’s “Children of Men” six years ago, I worried it might some day come true. I worry more now. Shame on these people. Shame on all of them.