The South African government has declared that it is “unable” to absorb the refugees who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power, in response to numerous requests to take in Afghans who fled to Pakistan.
“The request is that they be accommodated in South Africa en route to their final destinations,” the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement late Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the South African government is not in a position to meet this demand. South Africa is already hosting a large number of refugees and is determined to meet their needs,” he said.
The Pretoria executive confirmed that “most of them are already benefiting from the social assistance and free medical health programmes” offered by the country.
“In terms of international law, the best that can be achieved for the welfare of refugees is to remain in the first country they arrive in, Pakistan, awaiting their final destinations,” the South African government added.
Unlike South Africa, African countries such as Rwanda and Uganda have already agreed to host Afghan refugees pending resettlement in other countries.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees admitted last Friday that it is considering various scenarios in Afghanistan after the end of the evictions by districts, which could cause a mass exodus of Afghans across the country’s land borders.
The most negative scenario is based on the departure of up to half a million Afghans, mainly to neighboring countries, although UNHCR stressed that for the time being, the situation at the border crossings can be controlled.
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