Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

One Million Refugees to be Repatriated in 2017

One Million Refugees to  be Repatriated in 2017

The European Union (EU) has said that more Afghan asylum seekers are likely to be repatriated from the European countries this year
KABUL - Statistics issued by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) indicate that up to one million refugees are expected to be returned to Afghanistan during this year from Europe as well as Iran and Pakistan, the two main hubs for Afghan refugees.
"Support for improving migration management in general, including in the area of return and reintegration, is an objective under EU development cooperation and the special measures that we implement in Afghanistan is a rapid reaction to an unprecedented challenge" says Ms Raffaella Iodice, Head of Unit in charge of Migration in DG DEVCO, European Commission.
The IOM has warned that some of these refugees could be exploited by the terrorist organizations or possibly again leave their country unless the Afghan government and its international partners reach out help them once they are resettled in the own country.
“Our joint collaboration under this project marks a critical and much needed step towards providing longer-term, sustainable, income-generating solutions and livelihoods for returnees” said Laurence Hart, IOM’s Chief of Mission and Special Envoy in Afghanistan, speaking at today’s signing event in Kabul.
IOM will also support 1,000 technical and vocational education and training initiatives and skills development activities in the target project sites, and provide financial assistance to approximately 40 existing micro/small businesses.
 IOM has launched a four-year, €18 million project with funding from the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) to support returnees and host communities across Afghanistan.
 The project will help foster sustainable reintegration by promoting economic development in communities of high return, building the capacity of government bodies working on migration and providing post-arrival assistance for returnees. Communities in Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar, Balkh, Kandahar, Baghlan, Uruzgan and Laghman will be targeted.
 Under the project, and working with a network of partners, IOM will complete a series of community development initiatives in areas of high return. The initiatives will include small-scale infrastructure and income-generating projects in a number of different sectors such as agricultural rehabilitation, irrigation and canal cleaning, rural development, handicrafts, and providing equipment and supplies for public institutions and commercial spaces such as markets.
“Not only will this project have a positive impact on tens of thousands of Afghan returnees and high return communities, it will also serve as a valuable learning platform for creating successful return, reintegration and development interventions in the future,” said Mr. Hart.
The statement comes at a time that more than 7000 Afghan refugees have this year have returned to their country from European nations.
According to the EU statistics, some 580 Afghan asylum seekers were expelled from the EU countries in 2016 while this figure was around 152 asylum seekers in 2015.
The UN report cites that in 2016, up to 700,000 Afghans repatriated from Iran and Pakistan.
 However, the Afghan government has protested the expulsion of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan against the trilateral agreement signed between Afghanistan, the UN and the host countries.
 “Unfortunately, Pakistan is dealing with the refugees from a political perspective. However, the Pakistani officials in every meeting pledge not to politically exploit the refugees, but they repeat it again and again,” said minister of refugees and repatriations Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi.

IOM has also warned that Afghanistan likely to face great challenges amid refugee influx in the country. (Tolonews)