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Unity govt to spur refugees’ return, hopes UN

Unity govt to spur refugees’ return, hopes UN

Sep 25, 2014 - 12:19

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The unity government deal between president-elect Ashraf Ghani and chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah may spur voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, the United Nations hopes.

Mustafa Sarwar, UNHCR deputy head in Pakistaninfo-icon’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, viewed uncertainty and insecurity in Afghanistaninfo-icon as a major obstacle to the return of refugees to their homeland.

Speaking at a seminar in Peshawar on Wednesday, he said: “The political reconciliation in Afghanistan could encourage refugees living in Pakistan to return home voluntarily.”

Dawn quoted him as saying the new Afghan government would bring stability to Afghanistan, encouraging the repatriation of its citizens. The UNHCR remained committed to facilitating the process, he added.

Sarwar also promised UN help for rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure in refugee-hosting areas in Pakistan through the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) programme.

The UNHCR has increased cash assistance from id="mce_marker"50 to $200 for each Afghan refugee returning home voluntarily and provided transport facility but even then, repatriation has been slow.

A government official, Waqar Maroof, voiced his concern over the slow return of refugees. He said some 19,000 Afghan refugees had repatriated in 2013 but only 4,800 returned this year.

He revealed the 1.6 million registered refugees were adding about 75,000 newborn children to their existing population in Pakistan every year.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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