Unaccompanied child asylum seekers risk deportation

Denmark wants to join an European initiative to open a centre in Kabul to house young Afghans who are denied asylum

A new strategy is being developed to deport failed Afghan asylum seekers who, because of their age, cannot be deported unless their families are found.

Politiken newspaper reports that Denmark has joined with Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands and Norway to attempt to establish a centre in Kabul that could house the failed asylum seekers.

Around 1,100 Afghans under the age of 18 travelled to Denmark over the past six years and while most were granted asylum, 54 had their applications rejected last year alone.

Unless their families can be found, it is difficult for the authorities to deport the young asylum seekers, meaning that many risk spending years in asylum centres before they turn 18, at which point it becomes easier to deport them.

The centre in the Afghan capital of Kabul is hoped to give the deported asylum seekers somewhere to settle before starting a new life, but there is disagreement among the partners about how the centre should take shape.

For example, there is no agreement yet about whether the centre would have armed guards or whether Denmark would help run it once it is established.

Concerns about the centre have been raised by both politicians and charities who fear for the safety of the centre’s residents.

“It is incredibly important that that we guarantee the children the necessary security and support,” Karina Lorentzen (Socialistisk Folkeparti) told Politiken. “I am currently unsure whether that is possible.”

Children’s charity Red Barnet is concerned that the centre will become a target for the Taleban and has doubt about the Afghan authorities' ability to support the children.