UNHCR ships off 41,000 Afghan refugees home


The UN refugee agency has facilitated the return of over 41,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan so far this year through its voluntary repatriation activities.
According to a private news channel report, UNHCR representative in Afghanistan Neill Wright has said that nearly one-third of the refugees had returned to their homes in northern Afghanistan, while 26 percent to the eastern provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar and Laghman and there were also a significant number of returns to Ghazni, Kabul, Logar and Parwan in central Afghanistan.
The UNHCR’s voluntary repatriation programme has assisted more than 3.7 million Afghan refugees to return home from Pakistan during last ten years.
The UNHCR operates three Voluntary Repatriation Centres in Pakistan to facilitate the returns of Afghan refugees to their country.
In addition to assisting Afghans to return home, the UNHCR is also helping communities in Pakistan that have hosted large number of refugees.
Through its Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) initiative, for which the UN refugee agency acts as a convening agency, it is implementing projects to provide livelihoods, improve infrastructure and rehabilitate the environment in over 22 rural districts and six urban areas across Pakistan.
The RAHA programme is a major component of a new regional strategy on Afghan refugees agreed between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan as well as the UNHCR.
The strategy, which seeks to enable more Afghan refugees to return home and contribute to the rebuilding of their country, was given international support at a conference held in May this year in Geneva.