Australia Backs IOM Aid for Undocumented Afghan Returnees on World Refugee Day

Date Published: 
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) today announced a new 2-year AUD 4 million (USD 3.04 million) aid package
to help IOM Afghanistan to support vulnerable undocumented Afghan returnees. In 2016 Afghanistan experienced unprecedented inflows of returning refugees and undocumented migrants. Over 620,000 returned from Pakistan and 440,000 from Iran. Another 670,000 people remained internally displaced. This year, as of 10 June, over 100,000 Afghans, including over 68,000 undocumented returnees, have returned from Pakistan. This is partly due to a deteriorating protection regime and a series of terror attacks. The figure represents a 250 percent increase over the first six months of 2016. So far this year, IOM has helped over 63,000 people with immediate humanitarian assistance. In 2017 it aims to help a total of nearly 293,000 people. Australia’s contribution in Afghanistan will include accommodation for families at IOM’s Transit Centers located at major border crossing points, provision of medical screening hot meals, household and kitchen items, cash for transportation, food rations, and referral services for special needs cases like single females and unaccompanied migrant children. Quote from His Excellency, the Ambassador of Australia in Afghanistan, Mr. Richard Feakes Many returning families have lived outside of Afghanistan for three decades, and need support from the government and humanitarian actors both on arrival and as they seek to reintegrate into a country struggling with widespread conflict and displacement. “Support to Afghan returnees is now more critical than ever,” said IOM Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart. “As numbers continue to increase with nearly one million people returning to Afghanistan since last year, new funding from Australia highlights the pressing needs of Afghans returning home in difficult circumstances.” Under the Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan, IOM is appealing for USD 52.8 million to provide post-arrival assistance to the most vulnerable undocumented Afghan families returning from Pakistan and Iran in 2017. In addition to its aid package for Afghanistan, Australia today announced another AUD 4 million contribution to support IOM’s work with undocumented Afghans and host communities in Pakistan. The funding will help the Government of Pakistan to implement its Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees, including the registration of undocumented Afghans to ensure their safe, humane and dignified voluntary return. For further information please contact Sarah Craggs at IOM Afghanistan, Email: scraggs@iom.int. Or Lucy Carlsen at the Embassy of Australia in Kabul, Email: lcarlsen@dfat.gov.au