ISLAMABAD: The UN Migration Agency has extended an offer to assist Pakistan in establishing a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism for registering and managing Afghan nationals, including those potentially requiring international protection.
In a joint statement on Saturday, the UN Migration Agency and UNHCR urged Pakistan to uphold the protection of all vulnerable Afghans seeking safety within the country, emphasizing the potential risks they face if compelled to return. This appeal follows Pakistan’s nationwide effort to repatriate illegal immigrants.
While acknowledging Pakistan’s sovereign authority over domestic policies and the management of populations, the UN agencies emphasized Afghanistan’s severe humanitarian crisis, particularly impacting women and girls. They expressed concerns that repatriation plans could pose serious protection risks for those forced to leave the country.
Recognizing Pakistan’s longstanding hospitality toward Afghan nationals, the agencies reiterated the call for all returns to be voluntary, safe, and dignified, without coercion, to ensure the protection of those seeking safety.
The UN Migration Agency and UNHCR cautioned that forced repatriation may lead to severe human rights violations, including family separations and the deportation of minors. They called on all countries to suspend forcible returns of Afghan nationals and emphasized the importance of ensuring any potential returns occur in a safe, dignified, and voluntary manner.