News / Asia

UN: Afghan Refugees Harassed in Pakistan

Returning Afghan refugees, who have recently arrived from Pakistan, wait during the registration process at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees center on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 20, 2013.
Returning Afghan refugees, who have recently arrived from Pakistan, wait during the registration process at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees center on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 20, 2013.
Sharon Behn
The U.N. refugee agency is warning that Afghan refugees in Pakistan are increasingly becoming victims of extortion, illegal detention and harassment. Pakistan has taken in millions of Afghans since the Soviet invasion in 1979 and has some 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, hundreds of registered Afghan refugees have recently been illegally swept up and briefly held by Pakistani authorities during security operations.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
U.N. representative Neill Wright said most of the arrests came during operations in Pakistan's restive southwestern province of Baluchistan and the southern city of Karachi, mainly because of institutional delays in updating refugee status cards.
 
"Normally every month there would be just a small number of arrests and releases," Wright explained. "However in the last two or three months, particularly in the two operations that I mentioned, these numbers have gone up into the hundreds every week or every month, so the number has significantly increased."
 
Wright added that the refugees were quickly released, but he called on law enforcement agencies to respect the rights of refugees and work on reducing the number of arrests.
 
Islamabad, in its second extension since December 2012, recently said that registered Afghan refugees can legally remain in Pakistan until December 2015. However, many refugees are holding expired identity cards  - leading to mistaken detention and abuse.
 
Wright's counterpart in the Pakistan Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, Imran Zeb, acknowledged that in some cases local security forces were taking advantage of the situation.

"For example, if there is a man traveling on a bus, and if any security person or any police constable comes and asks for his identification, and he does not have one, or has, as I said an invalid card, so he is taken down from the bus and taken aside, so at the very lower level," noted Wright, "this is not something that regards to the government or to any institution or to any people, these are individual to individuals -- so that particular constable would try to try whatever means he can to benefit himself also and release the guy also. So that is the extortion."
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Millions of refugee Afghans poured over the border into Pakistan when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and more joined them when the Taliban took over in the late 1990s. In the last 10 years, some 3.8 million have been repatriated, but Pakistan still hosts more than one and a half million authorized Afghan refugees.
 
"There are 1.61 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan today, and some of them were issued their PoR [Proof of Registration] cards in 2010 in different locations from where they are living today," said Wright, noting that issuing renewed cards is not a simple process. "So you can imagine the logistics and the cost of replacing all of those cards."
 
The UNHCR and the government of Pakistan have set up complaint cells and a hotline for those authorized refugees who need help.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sultan from: England uk
November 02, 2013 8:24 PM
@shaji. What a shame! Its funny how you don't mention that pakistanis do the same thing all over the world. If you want the Afghans to leave Pakistan then all the pakistanis all over the world should return back to Pakistan too since they aren't in danger in their homeland.Besides we are all muslims and we should welcome our brothers and sisters open armed and treat them fairly, no matter how long they are there for. In Islam there's NO NATIONALISM. Anyway when Pakistan has a war with someone who is it that always is on the front line winning the war? The pashtuns

In Response

by: khan
November 09, 2013 12:28 AM
Pakistanis residing across world are not bcoz they went there bcoz of war.they r immigrants. While afghans residing in pakistan r refugees .and came to pakistan bcoz of security concerns


by: Abdulwahid from: Pakistan
October 25, 2013 4:49 PM
Thanks VOA. 65% of that 1.6 million are born in pakistan & they are just pakistani not afghani, pakistan should give them full nationality. I strongly disagree with above comment,in every forest there are different kinds of animals,five fingers of hand are not equal,Therefore in every country/nation/tribe/ any kind of people exist.

In Response

by: khan
November 09, 2013 12:29 AM
They dont have pakistani nationality.and should be sent back .thry r just refugee


by: shaji from: Pak
October 24, 2013 11:44 PM
Good, they have a choice....GO HOME. We dont want Afghans in our country, they are rude, criminals, uneducated, murderers, thieves, kindppers, drug dealers, all the crime you can imagine, these people commit freely, they are filthy, and any neighbourhood they settle in becomes an instant ghetto, we were not supposed to host them for over 30 years, now they refuse to go back, sorry enough is enough, if anyone feels pity, please send visas for all 3 million overstaying illegally or else shut up.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid