Seminar on International Refugee Law in Kabul

Capacity Building in international refugee law for the staff of the Afghan Ministry for Refugees and Repatriation

Decades of conflict and civil war in Afghanistan have led to a consistent undermining of international human rights standards and a disregard of international humanitarian law provisions among the participating conflict parties. For these reasons, many Afghans have already fled to neighboring countries, where the number of Afghan refugees is steadily rising.

In recent years, the attention of the Afghan government and the international community has been focused on the preparation of long-term strategies for the reintegration of displaced Afghans. Despite this, the number of voluntary returnees to Afghanistan continuously decreases. This is due in part to the poor security situation in many parts of the country as well as to the shortcomings regarding the implementation of the Afghan reintegration strategy. Because of this, substantial portions of the Afghan population continue to live in exile. Even as refugees in neighboring countries, these persons experience human rights violations and exclusion.

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation has addressed the precarious situation of refugees and has filed an official request with the Max Planck Foundation, which worked closely with the Hamida Barmaki Organization for the Rule of Law on the conceptualization of a seminar entitled “Refugee Law and Human Rights.”

Due to the ministerial officials’ extensive knowledge in refugee law and their learned knowledge regarding issues surrounding refugees, the Ministry will attain a higher degree of credibility and acceptance among concerned parties. The training contributes to the assurance of a near future in which the function of intermediary organizations may be reduced, so that the Ministry is able to respond to the specific problems of refugees and internally displaced persons without the need for foreign support.

The seminar, which was held under the aegis of the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, constitutes the first concise training of its kind on this topic.