235 refugee families from Balochistan return to Afghanistan this week
03 October, 2012
QUETTA: UNHCR's Senior Protection Officer in Balochistan Tayyaba Sharif said around 235 Afghan refugee families returned to their native towns in Afghanistan during the current week.
"Some 2,874 families comprising 1,4087 individuals have been repatriated since January from Balochistan," she said on Tuesday.
The UNHCR Pakistan official said trend of voluntarily repatriation has increased to 39 percent compared to previous year, as under the voluntary repatriation process the UNHCR had supported over 50,000 Afghan refugees so far during the current year while the number of repatriated refugees last year was 32,000. Giving collective data about the refugees' return, she said so far UNHCR had facilitated the voluntary return of more than 3.7 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan since 2002, adding the return process was purely on voluntary basis and every person opting to return was advised to make a well-informed decision.
"UNHCR has set up four Voluntary Return Centres (VRCs) in Balochistan to help as many Afghans return home as possible," Tayyaba added. She said that UNHCR was striving hard to remove the additional burden of refugees on Pakistan and supported Pakistan's endeavours it was taking to ensure health, education, and other basic facilities to the refugees.
Murtaza Khazmi, UNHCR Afghan attaché for refugees, said that there was tangible improvement in the law and order and security situation in Afghanistan that paved way for the safe return of the large number of Afghans to their hometown. "Afghan government has established 63 towns for the refugees living in Pakistan and Iran," he said, adding that further steps taken by the Afghan government would greatly result massive repatriation of refugees living across the camps in Pakistan.