Afghan refugees face difficult plight

Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

ISLAMABAD, Turkey, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Refugees from Afghanistan and some Middle East countries are being turned away in many Eurozone countries, causing a humanitarian problem, officials said.

Turkey, the first stop for many of the weary refugees, has a strict policy on Afghan immigrants. Asylum-seekers are put into refugee camps in rural parts of the country and are almost never granted citizenship or allowed to move freely in the country, the EUobserver said Thursday.

Those caught trying to leave the refugee camps face prison.

The dire straits facing many of the people who have fled war-torn and poverty-stricken Afghanistan -- and increasingly Iran and Syria -- have been a boon to one industry, though: human traffickers, the report said.

Smugglers promising safe passage into Greece or the Balkans are a tempting offer, the EUobserver said. Greece has cracked down on some of the most porous parts of its border with Turkey. Some Balkan states have reported a doubling of Afghan immigrants in recent months.

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