The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the latest Afghanistan Protection Brief has shed light on the displacement crisis in the country. More than 3.25 million Afghans are internally displaced, with over 5.53 million registered Afghan refugees or individuals living in refugee-like conditions in the region. The report underlines the urgent humanitarian requirements of the Afghan populace, with 29.2 million people needing aid.
Human Rights Concerns in Afghanistan
UNHCR's report brings to the forefront the grim human rights situations in Afghanistan. Vulnerable groups such as women, girls, religious and ethnic minorities face human rights violations upon their return to Afghanistan. The report has raised concerns over the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and the rights of women and girls in the country. The UN Human Rights Office has urged the Pakistan Government to ensure effective protection for Afghan nationals and discourage violations of the absolute prohibition of refoulment under customary international law.
Repatriation Process and Concerns
Since the initiation of the repatriation process by Pakistan in November, over 420,000 Afghan refugees have returned to their homeland. However, the move has not been without controversy. Pakistani authorities have targeted an estimated 1.7 million Afghans who have overstayed their visas or lack documentation. The US has urged Islamabad to prevent the deportation of approximately 25,000 vulnerable individuals who fled the Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan.
A Call for International Assistance
The UNHCR has called for durable solutions for forcibly displaced people, including returnees, emphasizing the need for international assistance. The United Nations Office at Geneva has warned that Afghan immigrants deported from Pakistan face a serious risk of human rights violations upon their return to Afghanistan. The UN World Food Program urgently requires $26.3 million to aid 1 million returnees from Pakistan arriving in Afghanistan. The experts have urged the international community to provide support for Afghan refugees and promote rights-based family reunification processes.