Afghans pro­gramme com­pletes nine years

The Pak Banker - - 2national -

IS­LAM­ABAD: The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Pak­istan has con­cluded its ninth year of the fa­cil­i­tated re­turn pro­gramme for the Afghan refugees.

The re­turn process will take a win­ter re­cess af­ter as­sist­ing 109,243 Afghans to re­turn home this year, says a press re­lease here on Wed­nes­day.

The vol­un­tary re­turn pro­gramme of Afghans started in 2002 and is the largest op­er­a­tion of the refugee agency around the world.

A to­tal 3.7 mil­lion refugees have since re­turned their home. Some 1.6 mil­lion reg­is­tered Afghans are still in Pak­istan.

"Repa­tri­a­tion is one of our pre­ferred so­lu­tions in any post­con­flict sit­u­a­tion", UNHCR Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Pak­istan, Menge­sha Kebede, said, adding that Afghans were ea­ger to go back home only if bet­ter al­ter­nates were pro­vided to them.

Mr. Kebede fur­ther noted that UNHCR to­gether with the host govern­ment is un­der­tak­ing ini­tia­tives to sup­port the Afghan govern­ment to man­age the Afghan pop­u­la­tion in a more ef­fi­cient man­ner.

The reg­is­tra­tion card re­newal project for Afghans and the up­com­ing pop­u­la­tion pro­fil­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion sur­vey are the two ini­tia­tives the govern­ment of Pak­istan has un­der­taken with the sup­port of UNHCR.

The ini­tia­tives will en­able the two coun­tries to plan devel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties for Afghans who have re­turned and those who may not be able to re­turn in the near fu­ture. -App

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