UNHCR insists on prior scheduling at Peshawar VRC
KABUL (Pajhwok): So far 67,000 Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan under a UNHCR -facilitated voluntary repatriation programme since January 1, an official said on Saturday.
In May 2,600 families returned, in June 1,250, in July 12,900 and in August so far 46,900 people have returned voluntarily to Afghanistan, a spokesperson for UNHCR in Pakistan, Duniya Aslam Khan, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
About problems the Afghan families face in receiving aid from the UN agency and their increasing number, Khan said soon after Eidul Fitr, they witnessed a significant increase in the number of families approaching UNHRC Voluntary Repatriation Centre (VRC) in Peshawar.
“Our centre has the capacity of processing approximately 3000 people maximum,” the UNHCR spokesperson said, adding they had put some arrangements in place to facilitate the returning families.
“We have secured additional parking space where all the trucks and families outside our centre have been moved. We are in the process of opening a new repatriation centre,” she said.
Duniya said they also increased the capacity of the existing VRC centre in Peshawar, which would be operational six days a week now.
She said they had now made operational 10 helpline numbers and registered Afghan refugees, intending to repatriate through UNHCR’s Voluntary Repatriation Centre in Chamkani, were now asked to schedule an appointment before approaching the centre.
“Families arriving without prior scheduling after September, 1 2016 will not be facilitated at the VRC,” She said.
Khan said the head of family, before the intended date of departure from Pakistan, should call any of the helpline numbers to schedule a day for their repatriation.
“Each family will be provided a number and date of departure. Refugees are not required to be physically present at the centre for this process.”
Scheduling Numbers: 0300 0544491, 0300 0544492, 0300 0544493, 0300 0544494, 0300 0544495, 0300 0544496, 0300 0544497, 0300 0544498, 0300 8585600, 091- 2602091
About any assistance to Afghan families leaving behind their purchased properties and running businesses in Pakistan, the UNHCR official said border management was a bilateral arrangement between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“As far as we know, no Afghan national is barred from entering Pakistan with proper documentation. UNHCR’s mandate is only limited to registered Afghan refugees who reside inside Pakistan and are in possession of a Proof of Registration card.”
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