Pakistan: Voluntary Repatriation of Afghans from Pakistan | As 30th of April, 2018
A total of 4,769 individuals were facilitated for voluntary repatriation process between 1 March to 30 April 2018 from Pakistan with a total of 4,572 entitled for cash assistance. The remaining 197 have received UNHCR’s cash assistance in the past.
Overview of Voluntary Repatriation from Pakistan to Afghanistan
UNHCR facilitates the Voluntary Repatriation of Afghan refugees as part of its mandate to provide durable solutions.
UNHCR Pakistan operates two Voluntary Repatriation Centres (VRC) in QuettaBalochistan and Nowshera-KPK. Families who want to repatriate are de-registered at the VRC and their Proof of Registration (PoR) card is cut in the corner. A PoR card is an identity card for Afghan refugees that grants their temporary legal stay in Pakistan and protection against refoulement. Returnees receive a cash grant of approximately 200 USD per family member once they have reached one of the three UNHCR Encashment Centres in Afghanistan.
In 2016, a scheduling system for returnee families from VRC Azakhel (Nowshera) was established. All returnee families have to obtain a scheduled date for their return. UNHCR facilitated Voluntary Repatriation recommenced on 1 March after a three months winter break. A total of 891 families were scheduled for return in KP by the end of April 2018. However, 732 families (82%) presented themselves at the VRCs for their departure to Afghanistan.
The voluntary repatriation trend in 2018 is generally low compared to previous years. This is primarily due to the ongoing security situation in Afghanistan. Strict border entry requirements was stated as a major push factor for return during April. Main areas of return are Kabul and Nangarhar provinces.
Since 2002, 4,364,960 Afghan refugees have repatriated from Pakistan with UNHCR’s assistance (see chart above). The number of refugees repatriating to Afghanistan has fluctuated over the years and has decreased substantially, from around 450,000 in 2005 to 58,211 in 2015. 2016 saw an increase of over 381,275 returns which was the highest recorded number of returns since 2005.