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Repatriates demand more assistance, employment

Repatriates demand more assistance, employment

Apr 22, 2019 - 20:27

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Ten to 15 Afghan refugee families have been repatriated from Pakistaninfo-icon to southern Kandahar province on daily bases via Spinboldak crossing, officials said on Monday.

On the other hand, returning refugees complain unemployment, lack of shelters and say without the UNHCR, government provided them no assistance.

Kandahar Refugees and Repatriation Department Director Dost Mohammad Nayab, told Pajhwok Afghan News that repatriation of the Afghan refugees from Pakistan was depended on political situation of the two countries.

If the situation is not good in Pakistan, around 60 to 70 Afghan families return on daily basis through Spin Boldak crossing but if the situation is normal there then 10 to 15 of these families come to their home country in a day, he said.

Nayab said Afghan and Pakistani foreign ministers have decided that around 50,000 Afghan refugees based in Pakistan would be returned to Afghanistaninfo-icon via Torkham port.

However, the refugees returning process yet to begin in Pakistan as the migrants stay time extended for a month, he said.

He said, 3,500 Afghan refugee families were returned to their country via Spin Boldak port last year and those families that had legal documents were assisted by UNHCR and those who did not have the docs were assisted by International Organization of Migrationinfo-icon (IOM) with food items.

Nayab said it was the responsibility of Refugees and Repatriation Department to provide shelter for returning refugees, but no action was so far taken on the regard so far in Kandahar.

Land plots for townships to returned refugees are specified in Daman and Panjwayee districts of Kandahar and designing for building townships on them is completed.

Nayab said that the land plots distribution process was awaiting the Presidential Palace’s order.

In the past, land plots were distributed to refugees based on 104th presidential decree but now they are distributed on 305th presidential decree, but this decree needs amendment, he added.

Based on the 305th presidential decree, presence of UN agencies is mandatory during distribution of land plots to refugees, but the problem is that UN does not have their branches in all provinces of the country which hindered the decree’s implementation, he added.

Kandahar Refugees and Repatriation Department is ready to distribute 1,076 land plots for housing to refugees in Panjwayee district, Nayab said.

He said one township was not enough for sheltering all refugees, therefore 3,000 acres of land was allocated for another township in Daman district and would be distributed to entitled families after a presidential order.

Besides hosting returning refugees from Pakistan, Kandahar is also home to 185,000 internally displaced families.

Nayab said that around 185,000 families from a number of districts of Kandahar and some neighbor provinces were displaced to the province due to war and recent drought.

Kandahar Refugees and Repatriation Department cooperated by some aid organizations were able to provide food and cash assistance to these families time to time, he said.

But this assistance cannot change the lives of the affected people because they suffer from joblessness.

Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan say that only UNHCR provided them cash aid while the government did nothing so far to help them.

Mohibullah, one of a 10-member family who returned from Pakistan’s Quetta city to Kandahar city and currently live in rental house, said that he expected the government would provide them land for building their shelter.

He said that the government did not distribute land plots even to refugees who were returned years ago.

He said most of Pakistan based Afghan refugees were suffering many pressures and they wanted to return to their own country, but they had to accept living without having a shelter and an income source.

Mohibullah asked the government to help them in providing them shelter and creating jobs.

Abdul Wahab, another refugee who returned a few months ago to Kandahar is also suffering from joblessness and currently live in a rental house.

He said that several times visited Kandahar Refugees and Repatriation Department for a land plot but the department only registered his name and promised him to give him a plot of land.

However, he said that he had to wait for an indefinite time to until he gets a plot of land for building his own house.



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