573 AFGHAN REFUGEES RETURNED IN 2021
During 01 January – 31 March 2021, 573 Afghan refugees have returned from Iran (433), Pakistan (134), and other countries (6) including India and Kazakhstan. In comparison to previous years, these returns were 106% higher than the 278 Afghans who returned during the same period in 2020 but slightly lower than the 643 returnees who came back during the same period in 2019.
The increase in the number of returnees, compared to 2020, is mainly due to the continuation of UNHCR’s facilitated voluntary repatriation in 2021, while the process had to be suspended between March and August 2020 as a result of restrictions linked to COVID-19.
While Voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees through Islam Qala and Spin Boldak crossing points continues, voluntary repatriation through Torkham crossing point remain suspended as a result of restrictive customs formalities imposed by the authorities (Pakistan side) since November 2020. UNHCR office in Pakistan is following this issue with the authorities.
UNHCR will continue to facilitate the return of refugees throughout 2021 with planning for 60,000 Afghan refugee returnees from Pakistan, Iran and other countries.