Two Afghan children were killed last week and another 62 migrants were injured, victims of their desperate attempt to flee their homeland for Europe.
These figures reflect a new reality for the tens of thousands of Afghans who are seeking a new life outside of their homeland.
On November 16th, Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabani was summoned to the parliament. In his statement he declared that over the past nine months, more than 146,000 Afghans have tried the perilous journey through Iran to Turkey. From there they usually go on to Europe.
But the way is treacherous; migrants are breaking international law in their search for a better life, and all too often they are hurt or even killed.
On Sunday, November 8, police in Turkey ordered a bus carrying Afghan migrants to stop, but the driver did not. The police started firing on the bus, and a 10-year-old Afghan boy, Belal Karimi, was shot and bled to death on his way to the hospital.
According to Turkish police, the smugglers who got the migrants across the border escaped.
Migrant activists in Turkey strongly condemned the police, claiming that they acted in violation of human rights and international migration conventions.
Just one day later, on Monday, November 9, a bus carrying Afghan migrants collided with another vehicle in the Bash Qala district of Hakkari province. The bus was on its way to Van, Turkey, and was driving on the wrong side of the road. Out of the 24 passengers injured in the crash, 20 were Afghan.
The victims were taken to a hospital in Bash Qala, then transferred to Van hospital after being given emergency treatment. According to police, three of the injured were in serious condition.
Just one day later, another bus full of Afghan migrants had a collision in Corum province of Turkey in which one person was killed and 42 others injured. They were on the way from Igdir to Istanbul.
The week before last, another three buses carrying Afghan migrants were shot, and a 13-year-old Afghan boy suffered a stomach wound. The bus was between Bursa and Balikesir; the police warned the driver to stop, but he did not, so they opened fire. Now the child ,Hamid Reza Hasanzada,has recovered, but he asks the police in Turkey to treat the migrants gently.
Zaker Hekmat, a migrants’ rights activist in Turkey, says that the police have ignored all laws and International conventions. “The Turkish police have to use something other than weapons to stop the buses,” he said. “If the drivers don’t stop the police should fire at the tires, not at the bus or passengers.”