Time and location

Monday, 6 March 2017, 19:00 – 21:00
Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Festsaal
Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Horia Mosadiq
Afghanistan Researcher for Amnesty International

Timor Sharan
Senior Analyst for International Crisis Group, Afghanistan

Sibylle Hamann, Journalist, Austria

Michael Fanizadeh, VIDC

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: fanizadeh@vidc.org

Afghanistan. Deported hope.

© iStock/Constantinis
© iStock/Constantinis


From January 2015 to the end of 2016, more than 37,000 people from Afghanistan applied for asylum in Austria, of which 48% of the applications received a positive decision in 2016 (incl. subsidiary protection and for humanitarian reasons) according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. More than half of the Afghan refugees remain without status until further notice. The situation is similar in other European countries, such as in Germany where the total protection rate of Afghan asylum seekers was only 55% in 2016.
In October 2016 the EU concluded a readmission agreement with Afghanistan to deport the rejected asylum seekers as a condition for billions of dollars for aid projects. Afghanistan thereby agreed to reaadmit rejected Afghan asylum seekers; the number of people to be deported from the EU to Afghanistan was reported as 80,000.

But what is the situation like for deported refugees in Afghanistan? Often they have lost all of their possessions or sold them to flee, and now have to live under very difficult social and political conditions. Official figures assume that 1.2 million internally displaced people live in Afghanistan alone, in addition there are deported Afghans from Pakistan and Iran. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 250,000 people had to return to Afghanistan from Pakistan since January 2016 and almost half a million from Iran.


Horia Mosadiq

is an Afghan human rights activist and journalist with 23 years of experience working in Afghanistan and the region. She has been working for the international office of Amnesty International as an expert on Afghanistan since 2008. Prior to this she worked for several governmental and non-governmental institutions in Afghanistan. She also represented Afghanistan in 2007 at the 51st UN Commission on the Status of Women. In 2007 Mosadiq won the Afghan human rights award and in 2011 she was named one of the 50 most courageous women in the world by Britain’s Glamour Magazine. Amnesty International gave her the Women Rights Defender Award in 2012 and 2015, and the Open Asia/Armanshahr Foundation recognized her for her outstanding commitment to human rights in 2015. In 2013, Mosadiq founded the Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO), which supports the work of human rights and women’s rights defenders in unsafe provinces in Afghanistan.

Timor Sharan

Timor Sharan is the Afghanistan Senior Analyst for International Crisis Group, based in Kabul. Prior to this, Mr. Sharan was the Director of Program Management Unit at The Asia Foundation in Kabul. He also worked as the political economy advisor and aid effectiveness expert for a number of the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and USAID projects in Afghanistan.
Educated at Cambridge, as well as Essex University, Mr. Sharan holds a PhD in political economy of international statebuilding from University of Exeter, with a specialisation in economic and political development and institution-building.  He writes regular policy articles on Afghanistan and the wider regional dynamics that shape conflict in the country for Foreign Policy and Politico and other policy outlets and appears in news outlets including New York Times, Guardian and Wall Street Journal.

Sibylle Hamann

has been a freelance journalist and author in Vienna since 2006. She is a weekly columnist for Die Presse, a permanent contributor for the Falter and Emma, editor-in-chief of Liga. Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte, editor in the journalism program at the University of Applied Science FH Wien, moderator, and lecturer.

Michael Fanizadeh

is a political scientist and has worked at VIDC since 1997. His fields are migration & development, human rights, and anti-racism. His regional focus is on the Middle East and the Black Sea Region.