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Afghanistan: Rind asks international community to respond to UNHCR financial appeal

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ISLAMABAD, May 12 (APP): Minister for States and Frontier Region (SAFRON) Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind Friday asked the international community and major donor countries to contribute generously towards the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s financial appeal for assisting the repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan. He said this while talking to the Representative of the UNHCR Janel Lim in Geneva, Switzerland. According to a message, he briefed the UNHCR representative about the government efforts for the voluntary repatriation of Afghans. He said around 205,000 non-registered Afghan refugees have returned to their homeland from Pakistan in the last six-months, adding, this was made possible with the cooperation and support of the UNHCR. "Afghan refugees were offered an enhanced financial package of US $ 100 as compared to the earlier practice of paying US $ 7 to 30, per person. He said financial package is costing US $ 20 million, adding, Pakistan contributed US $ 5 million towards this first phase of repatriation programme. He hoped that international community and major countries would come forward and help UNHCR to meet the estimated costs of the project. The Minister informed that repatriation of registered Afghans would be completed within the next three-year. He underlined that better health, education, economic and security conditions in Afghanistan would highly facilitate the repatriation process. Janel Lim UNHCR also highlighted UNHCR's repatriation policy, which was based on "voluntary return with safety and dignity". She reiterated UNHCR's appeal for additional US $ 15 million to enable the repatriation for 100,000 Afghans initially. Afghan refugees repatriation programme was divided into two phase: return of non-registered Afghans, which had already completed and the return of registered Afghan nationals, scheduled to complete in the next three years.