600,000 to 1 million undocumented Afghans to be registered in Pakistan: UNHCR

nsnbc : The UNHCR, on Friday, stated that it welcomes this week’s launching of a Pakistan government program aimed to register the estimated 600,000 to one million undocumented Afghan citizens who are living in the country.

Afghans in Pakistan_Pakistan_2017UNHCR spokesperson Duniya Aslam Khan said “This significant step will help regularize the stay for many Afghans at a time when return to their home country may not be possible.” Afghans registered under this new scheme will receive Afghan Citizen cards, providing them legal protection from arbitrary arrests, detention or deportation under Pakistan’s Foreigner’s Act said the UNHCR.

Kan added that “The citizen cards will allow Afghans to stay in Pakistan for the time being, until they can be issued documents, such as passports, by the Government of Afghanistan.”

The initiative will bring much needed relief for many Afghan families where some were registered refugees, while others had no legal status. The UNHCR said the registration of undocumented Afghans follows three years of consultations between the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the UN refugee agency. It forms part of Pakistan’s Comprehensive Policy on the Repatriation and Management of Afghans, endorsed by its cabinet in February this year.

The plan includes: extending the validity of the Proof of Registration cards to some 1.4 million registered Afghans refugees until the end of 2017; a commitment to adopt a national refugee law; and a visa regime for different categories of Afghan refugees who have the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards. The six-month registration programme began July 20 with the launch of a pilot in the country’s capital Islamabad and the north-western city of Peshawar, which hosts the largest number of undocumented of Afghans.

The program is expected to be rolled out in all four provinces from Aug. 16. Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Ministry of States and Frontier Regions and the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation will oversee the project with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.

F/AK – nsnbc 21.07.2017

Source Article from https://nsnbc.me/2017/07/21/pakistan-to-register-undocumented-afghan/

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