UNHCR Halts Refugee Repatriations For Three Months


The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) said Monday that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has suspended the repatriation process of Afghan migrants from Pakistan for three months.

According to the ministry, one million Afghans would have one month to leave Pakistan once the three months suspension period is up.

According to the UNHCR, the decision came about due to economic and social problems facing the refugees.

Abdul Rahman is one refugee who resettled in Afghanistan four months ago.

Rahman who worked as a teacher for 28 years in a school in Pakistan said he and his family left Pakistan over mounting pressure from the Pakistani government.

“There was a lot of pressure on us in Pakistan, even water and electricity were cut off, then we had no option except to return to Afghanistan, although I spent 38 years in Pakistan and we had our own house, but we joined 600,000 people and returned to our own country,” said Rahman.

Meanwhile, Rahman’s wife Bibi Hawa said that the return refugees have serious problems, particularly that of housing.

“We live in a rented house; life has become very hard for us; we had a comfortable life in Pakistan before the pressure; my sons were getting an education and my girls were going to Madrasa, but now we face a lot of problems here,” said Bibi Hawa.

“It is impossible for a million refugees to return within the deadline set for them, the suspension of the process by the UNHCR and Pakistan was surprising for us,” said Hafiz Miakhail, a media advisor to the ministry.

Sources from the UNHCR have said that the decision to suspend the repatriation process for three months came during a trilateral meeting between Afghan, Pakistani and UNHCR officials.

The lack of budget and certain economic and social problems are apparently the main reasons behind the decision.

The number of refugees repatriated from Pakistan over the past ten months is estimated to be about 600,000.

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