Return of Undocumented Afghans - Weekly Situation Report (22 - 28 April 2018)
1,150 undocumented Afghans returned from Pakistan
20,501 undocumented Afghans returned from Iran
10,954 total returns from Pakistan since 01 Jan 2018
223,442 total returns from Iran since 01 Jan 2018
96% of returnees from Pakistan (1,102 individuals) assisted
3% of returnees from Iran (677 individuals) assisted
95 Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMC) from Iran among those assisted, 0 from Pakistan
37 Medical Cases (MC) from Iran among those
Return from Pakistan
A total of 1,150 undocumented Afghans spontaneously returned or were deported from Pakistan through the Turkham (Nangarhar) and Spin Boldak (Kandahar) border crossings from 22—28 April 2018, according to the Border Monitoring Team of the Directorate of Refugees and Repatriation (DoRR). Of the total returnees, 1,118 were spontaneous returnees and 32 were deported. This number marks a 40% increase compared to the previous week (824). The total number of undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan since 01 January 2018 is now 10,954. IOM provided post-arrival assistance to 96% of undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan (1,102 individuals), including 840 individuals in poor families, 254 individuals in single parent families and 5 special case. The assistance provided includes meals, accommodation, basic medical screening, Non-Food Items (NFIs), onward transportation cash grants and referral services, as well as support from partners.
Increased Returns from Iran
Over the past year, the Iranian currency has been devalued by 30% against the US Dollar against the threat of additional sanctions, consequently decreasing the economic opportunities for Afghans in Iran. In addition, in the first four months of 2018, over 30,000 Afghans have arrived in Eastern Turkey as a result of ongoing instability in Afghanistan.
Over 7,000 have already been deported by Turkish authorities on special charter flights back to Kabul (IOM Afghanistan is not assisting this caseload and does not have information on the profile of these deportees). Anecdotal evidence collected from Afghan returnees at the Islam Qala border crossing show increasingly challenges for Afghans in Iran. The above factors are contributing to a dramatic rise in the number of returning Afghans from Iran. As of April 2018, over 220,000 Afghans have returned from Iran, this is a rise from the same period in 2017 of more than 100,000 people.
IOM is responding to a substantial increase in the return of undocumented Afghans from Pakistan and Iran. Since 01 January 2018, over 234,396 undocumented Afghans have returned due to diverse push factors, including deteriorating protection space in Pakistan and Iran. Most of those returning have lived outside of Afghanistan for decades, and will need support from the government and humanitarian actors both on arrival and as they seek to reintegrate. As the rate of return is influenced by a number of political, security and other related factors both in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, another surge in returns could occur at any time. The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan together with UN counterparts have now extended Proof of Registration cards for 1.4m Afghan refugees in Pakistan to 30 June 2018 and have begun the issuance of Afghan Citizenship Cards on 16 February for more than 850,000 undocumented Afghans. IOM is working to scale up its support to returnees in coordination with the Government of Afghanistan and other humanitarian partners in line with the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).
Return from Iran
A total of 20,501 undocumented Afghans spontaneously returned or were deported from Iran through the Milak (Nimroz) and Herat (Islam Qala) border crossings between 22—28 Apr 2018, 12 % more than in the previous week. Of the total deported undocumented Afghans, 5,071 individuals were deported through Islam Qala (Herat) and 5,140 were deported through Milak (Nimroz). Of those who spontaneously returned, 8,851 returned through Islam Qala (Herat) and 1,439 through Milak (Nimroz). Out of the total deportees, 595 individuals (6%) were deported with family members whereas 9,616 (94%) were deported as individuals. This brings the total number of undocumented returnees from Iran since 01 January 2018 to 223,442. IOM provided post-arrival humanitarian assistance to 677 (3%) undocumented Afghans deported from Iran at its Transit Centers in Nimroz and Herat, including 348 individuals in Deported Families (DF), 95 Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMC), 34 Special Cases (SC), 90 Single Parents Family (SP), 37 Medical Cases (MC), 48 members of poor families (PF), 12 Unaccompanied Elderly (UAE), 6 Physical Disabled (PD), 6 Drug Addicted (DA), and 1 Single Female.