Pakistan: Summary of Legal Assistance and Aid Programme (January - December 2018)
Nine Advice and Legal Aid Centres (ALAC) are operational in the main refugee-hosting areas of four provinces and provide free legal support to persons of con-cern (PoCs): four in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), one in Sindh and three in Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) through partnership agreements with SHARP and one in Balochistan run by SEHER.
In December 2018, UNHCR and its partners provided legal assistance to a total of 2,534 persons of concern. During the month, UNHCR and its partners intervened at police stations for 61 arrested/detained persons of concern and secured the release of all. In the majority of cases, UNHCR and its partners managed to obtain the re-lease of the arrested PoCs by law enforcement agencies before the official lodging of charges against them which resulted in their release from detention within 24 hours. Additionally, ALAC partners provided court representations to 40 persons of concern charged under the Foreigners Act and other preventive laws subsequently resulting in their release by the orders of the courts.
ALAC teams and the Ministry of SAFRON continue to take proactive steps to miti-gate the risk of detention, including enhanced advocacy, pre-emptively intervening at police stations to prevent arrests and enhancing the response capacity of part-ners. UNHCR has developed and disseminated additional awareness raising materi-als on legal assistance programs available for PoCs (ALAC posters, brochures & use of social media).
When compared with December 2017 (83 Ind), a slight increase (20%) in arrest and detention has been observed in the reporting month (100 Ind). UNHCR will contin-ue to advocate for extension of Proof of Registration (PoR) cards beyond 30 June 2019, as well as timely issuance of the official notification for further dissemination among refugee communities, UNHCR's partners and law enforcement agencies.