Afghanistan is a major source country for asylum seekers and refugees globally, not only for Australia. UNHCR estimates that there are three million Afghan refugees worldwide; this constitutes one in three of the world’s displaced persons. This number is rising with 33,500 Afghani’s making claims for asylum in 2010. Civilians in Afghanistan face three major push factors: general violence and conflict, abuse at the hands of Afghan security forces, in addition to the plight of ethnic minority Hazaras.
Although Afghani’s constituted the highest number of asylum applications in Australia they only counted for a fraction of total asylum claims worldwide. The figures below detail the asylum claims received over the 2010- 2011 period, up to and including June 2011. The majority of Afghan asylum seekers have been found to be genuine refugees. Even if applicants were rejected in the first stage of application to DIAC, up to 86% of those decisions were overturned upon review by either the RRT or the alternative ‘privatised’ system of IMR set up for irregular maritime arrivals (those arriving by boat without valid entry visas) who are processed as ‘offshore entry persons’ (see data below). Continue reading