Japan’s Support for Undocumented Afghan Returnees Recognized at Event in Kabul

Date Published: 
Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Embassy of Japan in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) held a ceremony today in Kabul to recognize the generous contribution made by the Government of Japan to support vulnerable undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan.

IOM is responding to a substantial increase in the number of undocumented Afghans returning from Pakistan since the beginning of 2016. Over 230,000 undocumented Afghans have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan as of 23 November, which is more than double the number of returns recorded in 2015.

Many of those returning have lived outside of Afghanistan for three decades, and will need support from the government and humanitarian actors both on arrival and as they seek to reintegrate into a country already struggling with widespread conflict and displacement.

In response to the Flash Appeal, launched in September, the Government of Japan has provided IOM with USD 5 million to deliver vital post-arrival humanitarian assistance to undocumented Afghans returning from Pakistan.

“The Government of Japan has always emphasized meeting the needs of vulnerable Afghan returnees, and has been working with IOM since 2008 to provide uninterrupted assistance,” said H.E. Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka, speaking at the event.

The assistance provided to undocumented returnees at the two major border crossing points with Pakistan in Nangarhar (Torkham) and Kandahar (Spin Boldak) includes meals and overnight accommodation at IOM Transit Centers near the border, medical services, household and kitchen items for families, support for returnees with special needs and other essential supplies.

“This equipment is going to benefit thousands of Afghan returnees from Pakistan,” said IOM Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart. “During this critical moment of growing numbers of returnees, the support we have received from Japan is particularly important, and I would like to recognize that Japan was one of the first donors to respond to our request to extend more support to Afghan returnees from Pakistan.”

In addition, through the support of Japan, IOM is providing winter and shelter assistance for returnee families including a tent, heater, blankets, tarpaulins and cash assistance for up to 34,000 returnees.

“We highly appreciate this assistance to vulnerable returnees from the people of Japan,” said H.E. the Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, Mr. Fazal Ahmad Azimi.

IOM is appealing for USD 21 million to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable undocumented Afghans likely to return home from Pakistan before the end of 2016. Thanks to the generous support of the Government of Japan and other donors, the Appeal is currently 50% funded.

For further information please contact Nasir Haidarzai (+93 79 410 0542, nhaidarzai@iom.int) at IOM Afghanistan or Nematullah Nemati (+93 796 34 12 00, nematullah.nemati@kb.mofa.go.jp) at the Embassy of Japan.