Voluntary return

Voluntary return

Results and Impact

In 2014, some 12,991 individuals repatriated to Afghanistan from Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces, which is less than half (41 percent) of the returns in 2013.The low returns are mostly attributed to a ‘wait-and-see’ approach by Afghan refugees in light of the presidential elections in the first quarter of the year, the drawdown of international security forces, the uncertain security situation in Afghanistan and the extension of Proof of Registration (PoR) cards by the Government of Pakistan until 31 December 2015.

The lack of reintegration prospects, particularly in intended areas of return/origin in Afghanistan, which are increasingly urban settings, also contributed to low returns. A total of 500 families (2,312 individuals) voluntarily repatriated from Sindh, Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory during the period. In Balochistan, the Voluntary Repatriation Centre (VRC) in Baleli facilitated the return of 1,187 families of 5,796 individuals and ensured the voluntariness of return through a multiple verification mechanism: protection/exit interviews, border monitoring and identification of specific protection needs. No harassment or forced returns were reported by returnee families.

In KP, Sub-Office Peshawar (SOP) assisted voluntary repatriation activities at the VRC Chamkani through protection exit interviews with heads of households to ascertain the voluntariness of return, through de-registration from the NADRA database, and through patrolling of return routes to deter harassment/extortion of returning refugees. Overall, SOP faclitated the return of 6,454 individuals. The impact target therefore remained 100 percent due to regular patrolling, border monitoring and advocacy with border authorities for smooth transit of returning families at the security check points. The overall targets for ‘go and see’ and ‘come and tell’ visits could not be achieved within the reporting period as the proposed visits were cancelled due to security and logistical constraints. As part of the enhanced cross-border coordination, UNHCR Pakistan and Afghanistan held several video conferences and a two-day coordination meeting in Islamabad on issues related to the current refugee situation in the framework of the SSAR and coordinated planning for 2015/2016. On a provincial level, SOP and SOQ hosted a cross-border coordination meeting with the offices in Jalalabad and Kandahar, Afghanistan.

As part of the outreach activities and mass information campaigns, 1,205 sessions were conducted against the target of 850 sessions. 66 focus group discussions were conducted for men and women, through which 792 beneficiaries were provided information on the voluntary repatriation process, conditions of return, etc. Shura meetings conducted by UNHCR and partners allowed participating refugees to voice their concerns and highlight the required reintegration support upon return to Afghanistan.

During the reporting period, 96 Shura/consultative meetings took place reaching 3,900 refugees. 120 house-to-house visits for 59 individual families provided information on VolRep, Proof of Registration (PoR) card renewal and registration activities. Additionally, 39 information visits were undertaken by CAR to refugee villages during which 13,000 leaflets with FAQs related to VolRep and 9,000 leaflets related to health, education and the land allocation scheme in the country of origin were distributed. The information dissemination campaigns included the distribution of 8,000 posters on education and 16,000 leaflets on the PoR card renewal process. 124 route patrols (90 DRC, 34 CAR) were conducted to facilitate refugees’ return in safety and dignity. A significant increase in the number of voluntarily returning Afghan refugees is anticipated in 2015 if the situation in Afghanistan starts gradually stabilizing. Voluntary repatriation, as a preferred solution, will remain one of the key SSAR priorities, closely linked to the provision of reintegration support in Afghanistan.

Impact Indicator Baseline Year-End Target
% of persons of concern with intention to return who have returned voluntarily 100 100 100
Output Performance Indicator Year-End Target
Information provided to persons of concern # of PoC provided with information on conditions of return and on return plans 631,000 1,099,000
Come and tell visits for refugees and IDPs conducted # of come and tell visits conducted 1 1
Cross-border coordination mechanisms established # of cross-border coordination meetings held 6 10
Go and see visits for refugees and IDPs conducted # of go and see visits conducted 1 9
Information provided to persons of concern # of information sessions 1,205 1,200
Information provided to persons of concern # of persons reached by mass information campaigns 860,000 1,299,000
Individual voluntariness of return verified # of verifications of voluntary return 12,991 150,000

Results and Impact

UNHCR with its partner organization Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) assisted both in-camp and off-camp IDP returnee families. All those families residing in the camp were provided with return transportation, food package and transit sites facilities. In 2014, most of the returns occurred to Tirah (Khyber Agency) and Para Chamkani (Kurram Agency).

Due to the ongoing security problems and curfew in South Waziristan, no returns took place there. In addition, the emergency of North Waziristan resulted in the displacement of more than 90,000 families.

To provide quick emergency shelter support in the area of return, shelter needs assessment were conducted through partner organization’s field teams and every family whose house was completely damaged was provided with a UNHCR tent. As per the return framework, the returns are voluntary and informed; UNHCR’s Government counterpart (FDMA) and the Protection cluster assisted in informing the persons of concern of the return conditions, security and services/facilities available to the IDPs who were voluntarily returning to their areas of return.

Impact Indicator Baseline Year-End Target
% of persons of concern with intention to return who have returned voluntarily 100 100 100
Output Performance Indicator Year-End Target
Transit centres established # of PoC accommodated 55,404 250,000
Information provided to persons of concern # of PoC provided with information on conditions of return and on return plans 55,404 300,000
Safe and dignified returnee transport provided # of PoC provided with safe and dignified returnee transport 3,822 300,000
Return assistance provided # of PoC receiving return packages 55,404 300,000