The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) marked the International Migrants Day today in a function held in Kabul. The event, held in the Government’s Media and Information Center (GMIC) brought together representatives from the Government of Afghanistan, UN Agencies, International Organizations, Humanitarian Actors, Embassies, Parliamentarians, Afghan Civil Society and members of the migrant communities.
Speaking at the event on the International Migrants Day (IMD) the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said “Our joint work with the EU was fruitful and the number of the returnees have declined” he further added that, “We are also grateful to the governments of Iran and Pakistan for providing needful facilities for Afghan returning migrants in their countries”.
Undocumented Afghans, who are not formally registered as refugees in their host countries, face unique challenges both abroad and when they return home. Since the beginning of the year, over 500,000 undocumented Afghans have returned from Pakistan and Iran until 09 December 2017.
Addressing the participants, MoRR Minister H.E Said Hussain Alemi Balkhi highlighted that “So far this year more than 528,000 have returned from neighboring Iran and Pakistan while out of 500,000 internally displaced last year, over 100,000 have returned back to their places of origin within the country”.
“For Afghanistan, migration is an opportunity. Five hundred thousand people returned to their homeland this year. We’re here to help and we’re ready for 2018” said Mr. Toby Lanzer, acting head of the United Nations in Afghanistan at the Migrants Day in Kabul.
Migrants face many challenges along their migration route. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports that while more than 176,000 migrants safely reached Europe in 2017, over 3,000 migrants died on the way in their attempt to reach Europe. This figure compares to more than 387,000 arrivals in Europe in 2016, and over 5,000 deaths.
“It is a bitter sweet day remembering those who suffered or died, and those who have been successful”, mentioned IOM Special Envoy and Chief of Mission Mr. Laurence Hart.
Returns of undocumented Afghans have decreased by more than 60% compared to last year, from 248,000 in 2016 to 95,000 until 09 December 2017. Returns of undocumented Afghans from Iran have decreased by 8% compared to last year, from 443,000
in 2016 to 407,000 until 09 December 2017. Since the beginning of the year, IOM has provided more than 104,000 undocumented Afghans with post-arrival emergency assistance at its Transit Centers in the four border crossing points with Iran and Pakistan.
On 18 December 1990, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. International Migrants Day was officially proclaimed by the General Assembly in 2000.
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