Afghan minister arrives as tripartite commission on repatriation meets
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Afghan Minister for Repatriation and Martyrs Maulvi Abdur Raqeeb has arrived in Islamabad for the tripartite commission meeting begins here on Thursday, an Afghan diplomat said.
"The meeting will discuss the Afghan refugees' repatriation process in view of the worst drought which has hit almost the whole of Afghanistan," the diplomat told NNI.
The tripartite commission, which is comprised Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR, earlier met in Kabul in February this year. The Kabul meeting had decided that one hundred thousand refugees would be repatriated from Pakistan in one year.
The Taliban Minister, Afghan ambassador and other senior diplomats of the embassy held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the agenda of talks to be discussed during the tripartite commission meeting.
The phase-wise repatriation from Pakistan started in March, however, the UNHCR had to suspend the repatriation due to unprecedented drought in the war-ravaged country.
There are some 1.7 million Afghan refugees still residing in Pakistan.
UNHCR had stated early this year that it wanted to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran. UNHCR said it is concerned about the drought affected areas in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan where people are in dire need of foods and other essential commodities. Besides, locals, 2.6 million Afghan refugees are living there.
UNHCR had chalked out programme for repatriation of two hundred thousand Afghan refugees from Pakistan and Iran in the current year. But the unprecedented drought in southern Afghanistan forced the UNHCR to bring about some changes in its programme.
Now it is suspending the repatriation of the Afghan refugees to the drought affected four Afghan provinces, Kandahar, Farah, Helmand and Nimroz because nearly five hundred thousand people desperately need food and other essential commodities in these provinces.
The drought has also hit Pakistan and Iran, which has not only confronted the locals with problems but the Afghan refugees as well. UNHCR has said that the situation in Khurasan and Balochistan provinces of Iran is deteriorating and majority of the Afghan refugees is living in these provinces.
The United Nations says it would continue reparation progrmame of the Afghan refugees to their homeland and would send the refugees to those areas of Afghanistan, which are not in the grip of drought.
Drought may lead to refugees influx in Pakistan, Iran: The UN High Commission for Refugees says it fears that drought in Southern Afghanistan would force thousands of people to migrate to Iran and Pakistan if international community does not take immediate steps.
The UNHCR spokesman has said that people have already started shifting from one village to another in search of water.
According to UN, the unprecedented drought has affected nearly two million people in Afghanistan. UNHCR is concerned about the migration of people from one area to other in search of water. It says if donor agencies do not take immediate steps to provide assistance to the drought stricken Afghans, they may possibly go to Iran and Pakistan, which have also been experiencing drought.
The UNHCR had recently launched appeal for sixty seven million dollars aid for the drought-hit areas in Afghanistan but it has so far been assured of just eight million dollars and the Commission has received only few thousand dollars uptil now.
The UNHCR has already initiated aid programmes for nearly one lakh and thirty thousand Balochistan-based Afghan refugees from its emergency budget. It wants to shift these refugees to the areas where water is available because it fears that potable water may soon finish if they remain in the camps.
On the other hand, the UN Refugees Agency has announced suspension of repatriation of the Afghan refugees to the drought-affected areas in Afghanistan from Iran and Pakistan. Undoubtedly, the drought would affects the return of one hundred thousand Afghan refugees each from Pakistan and Iran planned for the current year. Iran has allowed the Afghan refugees who do not posses documents to stay there till October asking them to submit convincing and satisfactory reasons if they do not want to return homes.
Afghans repatriation from Karachi resumes on 29th
ISLAMABAD (NNI): The repatriation of the Afghan refugees resumes on June 29 as some 200 refugees families residing in the Haroon Dahira township of Karachi near high ground, 7/1-2 km from the border with Balochistan will repatriate to Afghanistan via Quetta which will be assisted and facilitated by UNHCR...
Upon their arriving in Kandahar, each family will receive partially the repatriation grant of Rs.5,000, plastic sheeting and 300 kg of wheat. After that the convey will proceed to take the returnees to Pul-e-Khumari, where the returnees will receive the remaining part of the repatriation grant prior to go to their villages of origin in North of Afghanistan....
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