Afghanistan faces a number of humanitarian challenges related to both conflict and natural disasters. In response to these challenges, IOM’s emergency and post-emergency assistance activities in Afghanistan focus on mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, implemented in close coordination with government and humanitarian partners. 

Undocumented Afghan migrants are at risk of exploitation and abuse during and after return to Afghanistan, including trafficking, gender-based violence and family separation. IOM’s Protection programme supports undocumented returnees at risk to return and reintegrate in safety and dignity through provision of tailored assistance at border points and in provinces of return and works with national authorities to strengthen cross-border protection mechanisms.

  • Protection screeners at Herat and Nimroz border points identify persons with specific needs (including women/children at risk, serious medical cases, persons with disabilities) in coordination with the border authorities and IOM’s CBRR colleagues, and refer cases facing protection risks for post-arrival assistance – e.g. provision of information, referrals, and assistance including family tracing and reunification, emergency accommodation, and safe transportation to returnees’ chosen final destination. 
  • Safe and dignified reintegration is supported in 12 provinces of return through protection case management for households with persons with specific needs. Following in-depth case assessments, households are supported via dissemination of key protection information, referral to local services including IOM’s RADA programme, and one-off assistance such as cash for protection to meet immediate needs and mitigate protection risks (e.g. resort to negative coping mechanisms such as begging, child labour/marriage). 
  • Regular protection monitoring (surveys, interviews and community discussions) is undertaken in coordination with the Afghanistan Protection Cluster to understand the protection environment for undocumented returnees. Monitoring takes place across all locations to track protection trends, monitor human rights violations, and support analysis to inform evidence-based advocacy for an effective protection and wider humanitarian response across Afghanistan. Regular protection monitoring reports are produced for this purpose.

IOM Protection is funded by the EU’s Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Swiss Government’s Ministry for Migration Management (SEM), and the Government of the Netherlands.

Humanitarian Assistance Programme (HAP): The IOM Humanitarian Assistance Programme responds to the emergency and recovery needs of natural disaster-affected communities across Afghanistan. Its major aim is to save lives and prevent further displacement. HAP addresses immediate humanitarian needs through the distribution of Non-Food Items (NFIs) and Emergency Shelter. These are pre-positioned in strategic locations throughout the country for rapid distribution when a crisis arises.

IOM Winterization Assistance Progress Dashboard

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities help build resilience to natural disasters in vulnerable Afghan communities. Prevalent poor construction practices combined with the history of natural disasters in Afghanistan create a need for DRR techniques to be integrated into emergency response and recovery activities, particularly those related to shelter reconstruction and rehabilitation of key lifesaving infrastructures. Through the Humanitarian Assistance Programme, IOM directly implements DRR activities and works to build the capacity of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Agency (ANDMA).

Annually an average of 500,000 undocumented Afghan migrants return home from Pakistan and Iran. Since 2007, IOM has been the leading UN agency in Afghanistan providing emergency humanitarian post-arrival assistance to undocumented Afghans. Over 300,000 persons have been assisted since 2016.

IOM and partners provide vulnerable undocumented Afghans returning from Iran and Pakistan with immediate humanitarian post-arrival assistance at the four major border crossings with Pakistan at Torkham and Spin Boldak and with Iran at Islam Qala and Nimroz through a network of IOM constructed and managed reception and transit centers. In partnership with the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR), IOM has supported to develop a registration platform for all returning Afghans—the Afghanistan Information Registration System (ARIS) - which registers documented and undocumented Afghans at the above borders and links them to Reintegration Infor-mation Centers and Provincial Reintegration Committees in 28 provinces for provision of reintegration assistance. The CBRR programme closely works with IOM’s DTM, Protection, Health, and Migration Management units and is the recipient of multi-donor funds from the Governments of the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Japan, Canada, the Central Emergency Fund and the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund.

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IOM Afghanistan’s Cross Border Response programme wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to our donor partners