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Broken Futures

Broken Futures documents the experiences of young Afghans who become Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE) and face the possibility of forced removal to Kabul. This report was originally published as part of UNHCR's New Issues in Refugee Research series.

Back in 2012, the REUK team started to get phonecalls from young people who had been part of our community in the UK, but who had been forcibly removed to Kabul – young person after young person not knowing where in the city to go to get support after return.

Broken Futures examines the journey up to and beyond these phone calls. The research examines the experience of turning 18 for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people and the uncertain futures that they face.


For those who become Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE), so-called options are limited. The report explores four key pathways often journeyed by ARE young people – voluntary return, disappearing in the UK – and the destitution that results, prolonged detention, and enforced return to their country of origin.


The authors travelled to Kabul to reconnect with young people they had known in the UK who had been forcibly removed, to better understand the situations they were returning to, and to scope out what, if any, support might be available to them.

Read the full Broken Futures report here

This initial study revealed the need for a larger scale, longer-term monitoring project tracking outcomes for forced returnees over a longer period of time – and lead to the development of our After Return research project. 
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