File Photo: Afghan refugee children in Quetta's Ferozabad area: Photo provided by the author

Press Release: 

Bangkok, October 7, 2023 – In a joint appeal, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have called on Pakistan to maintain its protection of vulnerable Afghan refugees amidst growing concerns over plans to repatriate Afghan nationals to their home country.

Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding:

Afghanistan continues to grapple with a severe humanitarian crisis marked by numerous human rights challenges, particularly affecting women and girls. Against this backdrop, the announced plans of Pakistan to repatriate Afghan nationals have raised alarm bells, given the potential serious protection risks upon their return.

Acknowledging Sovereign Prerogative:

IOM and UNHCR recognize Pakistan’s sovereign prerogative over domestic policies and its responsibility to manage populations within its territory while ensuring public safety and security.

Offer of Support:

Building on their longstanding and robust collaboration with the Government of Pakistan, IOM and UNHCR stand ready to provide support in creating a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism for the registration and management of Afghan nationals, including those in need of international protection.

Gratitude for Hospitality:

Both agencies express their deep appreciation for Pakistan’s generous hospitality extended to Afghan nationals over four decades, even in the face of numerous challenges. They emphasize the critical importance of all returns being voluntary, safe, and dignified, without any undue pressure, to safeguard the rights and safety of those seeking refuge. Forced repatriation raises the specter of severe human rights violations, including the separation of families and the deportation of minors.

Global Appeal:

IOM and UNHCR reiterate their call to all nations to suspend forcible returns of Afghan nationals and to ensure that any potential returns to Afghanistan occur in a manner that is safe, dignified, and voluntary. This appeal underscores the international community’s commitment to preserving the rights and welfare of Afghan refugees during these tumultuous times.

As the crisis in Afghanistan unfolds, IOM and UNHCR remain steadfast in their mission to protect and support those in need, with the hope that nations worldwide will unite to provide safe havens and lasting solutions for vulnerable Afghan populations.

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.