UN reacts strongly to FO statement on forceful eviction of refugees

UN reacts strongly to FO statement on forceful eviction of refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, the international organization for migration, and the UN Migration Agency jointly appealed to Pakistan to maintain its protection of all "vulnerable Afghans" seeking safety, as they could face "imminent risk" if compelled to return.

This plea comes in response to Pakistan's directive for illegal migrants to leave by November 1, with plans to take action against violators. Currently, Islamabad is expediting the repatriation of Afghan nationals while affirming its unchanged national policy regarding Afghan refugees.

Despite resource limitations and economic challenges, Pakistan continues to generously host 1.4 million Afghan refugees. The Foreign Office stated, "As the situation in Afghanistan stabilizes, we believe it is the right time to increase international efforts to create conditions conducive to the voluntary, honorable, and dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees."

The UNHCR emphasized that Afghanistan is facing a severe humanitarian crisis, especially impacting women and girls. Any forced repatriation plans could have serious consequences for those forced to leave the country, potentially exposing them to protection risks upon return.

While recognizing Pakistan's sovereign authority over domestic policies and its responsibility for public safety, the UN agencies offered their support in developing a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism to register and manage Afghan nationals, including those in need of international protection.

The humanitarian agencies commended Pakistan's longstanding hospitality towards Afghan nationals for over four decades, urging that all returns should be voluntary, safe, and dignified, without coercion, to ensure the safety of those seeking refuge.

They also expressed concerns about forced repatriation, which could lead to severe human rights violations, including family separations and the deportation of minors.