Is there any likeness between the Taliban and Russian officials? You might think that this is a silly question. But look how our migration service treats Afghans, who fled their country because of the Taliban’s persecutions and you will see that this question is not so silly.
For example, this is the story of an Afghan girl Marziya (the name was changed). At 22 years old she is a mother of two and a widow for two times. Marziya graduated from school (after finishing 12 grades) and while at high school she started to teach reading and writing to girls and women. During the pre-election campaign for her aunt as a deputy she was delivering flyers.
In 2010 she decided to enter the university and has passed entering exams. All in all her conduct was one of a common modern girl. However in Afghanistan such simple things require special personal courage from a girl. In the province she lived, the Taliban were very influential, and as well known, they see secular education and especially education for women as a terrible evil. As for their attitude towards women’s participation in social life it is even worse: not only the Talibans but most Afghans think that it is indecent for a woman to go out without being accompanied by a man.
Those they don’t like the Taliban treats the following way: first they warn them – sometimes orally, often send so-called “night letter”, which they put secretly into the yard, leave at the mosque or other public place. Normally they give such warnings more than once. If the person doesn’t follow them persistently, he may be beaten up. If this doesn’t help either he might be killed. Nobody knows how many of such murders take place. A foreign report on this topic tells about 271 such cases of murder in 2008, but it is just a small part.
Marziya received her first “night letter” when still at school, the second one – when she was delivering pre-election flyers. The same year the Taliban abducted her first husband from their home, who worked as a guard at the transportation of coalition forces’ cargo. His body was thrown later at the mosque near their house. In a year Marziya decided to enter a university and passed entering exams, and then she received the third letter. She had 12-month-old baby from her first husband. At the family council with her second husband and other relatives it was decided to send Marziya away to Russia – to her first husband’s brother who is married to a Russian woman and permanently lives in Arkhangelsk region.
As soon as she arrived Marziya went to the migration service and applied for refugee status. She has been refused. The migration service found that she had been subject to no Taliban persecution and “night letters” she had received were simply “traditional psychological influence”, something like national entertainment. Kotlass court where she appealed the migration service’s decision, has accepted the latter’s decision completely.
Then Marziya applied for humanitarian status – temporary asylum. It is granted to those who has no ground for obtaining refugee status, but it’s still inhumanely to send them back to their native land. At the end of the year before last Marziya was granted temporary asylum for a year, due to the birth of her son: fortunately the migration service found it inhuman to deport the young mother with a newborn straight from the maternity home.
During this year in Afghanistan her second husband has been abducted and disappeared, the Taliban followers have poured acid over her school friend; her parents had to move three times due to threats. Nevertheless, when at the end of the last year when Marziya applied for prolonging her temporary asylum she was refused: they found that the circumstances which allowed her to obtain asylum were over; nobody cared that only one year has passed. The main finding was “practically she wasn’t subjected to the Taliban’s persecution”, and “night letters”… you know – is simply “traditional psychological influence”.
We have helped Marzyia to file a complaint to FMS, Russia on the refusal of prolonging temporary asylum. This complaint hasn’t been considered yet when she received a phone call from Arkhangelsk migration service and was told: we won’t wait for a decision from Moscow, if you don’t leave Russia voluntarily in three days we will deport you.
We hoped that amazing resemblance with the Taliban in neglect of human life was typical only for some officials of Arkhangelsk MS, that Moscow officials who worked for FMS, Russia were modern educated people aware of the situation in Afghanistan, who respected human rights and certainly would remedy the terrible defects in the work of their provincial colleagues. But our hopes have failed.
Recently Marziya has received the decision of FMS, Russia on her complaint on refusal of prolongation of temporary asylum. It reads as: According to the medical condition there is no obstacle for the applicant to leave for Afghanistan. She has relatives in Afghanistan. “Grounds for prolonging the applicant’s and her infant children’s temporary asylum in the territory of Russian Federation for humanitarian reasons at present do not exist anymore”. In translation from the language of bureaucracy it means: We don’t care if the Taliban will kill you.