UNHCR Pakistan: Monthly Protection Trends Reporting Concerning Afghan Refugees (March ‐ April 2018)
In order to systematically monitor positive and negative factors in the context of voluntary repatriation, UNHCR Pakistan compiles a bimonthly note, and informs the key stakeholders about protection trends. This report also assists to raise any protection concerns formally and consistently.
Summary of Events
The Government of Pakistan (GoP) has extended the validity of Proof of Registration (PoR) cards until the end of June 2018. The notification on the extension of the PoR cards was officially released by Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) on 6th March 2018, and it has been disseminated among refugee communities, UNHCR partners and law-enforcement officials. UNHCR welcomed the decision of the GoP as a temporary relief amid the evident uncertainty and anxiety among Afghan refugees. UNHCR will continue to advocate for long-term extension of PoR cards while durable solutions are secured for all refugees.
In January and February 2018, a number of statements from senior government officials were observed in the media calling for Afghan refugees’ early repatriation, including conflating the issue of terrorism with Afghan refugees.
However, some of them said that the returns should be “voluntary,” “orderly” and “dignified.” UNHCR observed no unusual increase in reports of harassment, detentions or evictions, as a result of these public statements.
UNHCR-facilitated Voluntary Repatriation activity resumed on 1 March 2018 after the winter break. A total of 4,769 individuals were facilitated for Voluntary Repatriation Process from 1 March to 30 April 2018. Repatriation is taking place from voluntary repatriation centre (VRC) Azakhel, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baleli, Balochistan. Main areas of return are Kabul and Nangarhar provinces in Afghanistan. In general, so far the repatriation trend in 2018 has been lower than that of the same period in previous years mainly due to the prevailing protection and security situation in Afghanistan as well as the lack of livelihoods opportunities and land.