Repatriation of Afghan refugees suspended due to winter season


ISLAMABAD: The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will suspend Afghan refugees repatriations operation from  December 1, 2018, to February 28, 2019, in order to facilitate refugees as Afghanistan is in the grip of severe winter.

An official Of UNHCR, Qasir Afridi, told APP that UNHCR offices in Pakistan will continue to provide counselling, information and assistance to refugees during the winter break, however, Kabul, Samar Khel and Jamal Mayna Encashment Centres in Afghanistan will not be in operation.

He said that those refugees who are not able to formally register at the Authorised points in Pakistan and return without a voluntary repatriation form will not be assisted with case grants or have access to Encashment Centres in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, UNHCR will not bear the expenses of repatriation centres (VRC’s) at Azakhail, Nowshera and Baleli Quetta.

“During the winter season, the proof of registration card retains its validity despite expiry and registered PoR cardholders will be accorded their full rights as refugees in Pakistan,” he added.

He informed that refugees who are cardholders and facing harassment, extortion or ill-treatment should contact UNHCR for immediate assistance.

He added that all services provided by UNHCR in Pakistan and Afghanistan are free of charge.