Covid-19 stigma compounding deportees’ struggles

Date Published: 
Thursday, December 3, 2020

Nur suffers from hearing loss and is partially sighted. When the #COVID19 lockdown came, he couldn’t find work and took the tough decision to try to reach Iran to find an income to support his wife and son. While trying to cross the border, he fell from the vehicle he was traveling in and sustained a bad leg injury. A couple of months later, Iranian police caught and deported him at the Milak border point.

IOM’s #CBRR team organized transport for Nur to return to his family in Faryab, and the #Protection team referred him for medical care for his leg injury and provided PPE for #COVID19 prevention on arrival. However, when he tried to look for work, he found himself stigmatized by the community who suspected him of bringing #COVID19 back from abroad. The case management protection needs assessment showed that this stigmatization coupled with his disabilities created barriers for Nur to access #livelihoods opportunities.

After exhausting referral mechanisms available in Faryab, #IOM’s Protection team gave him cash assistance to buy some staple foods (rice, lentils, and vegetables) for his family. Nur had enough money left to buy some essential household appliances, blankets for winter, and 10 chickens with which he aims to generate a long-term income through selling the eggs.

“We didn’t have anything, but now we have food at home,” he says. “My family and I feel safe and very happy to have enough to last us until the end of winter.”

IOM Afghanistan is supporting undocumented returnees to access vital Protection services thanks to EU Humanitarian Aid.