Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and IOM Host Event for International Migrants Day in Jalalabad

Date Published: 
Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) held an event recognizing International Migrants Day today in Jalalabad.

The event, held in the garden of the Municipality Hall in Jalalabad, brought together representatives from the Government of Afghanistan, humanitarian actors, the Upper House of Parliament, Afghan civil society and members of migrant communities.

Reading a message on behalf of President Ashraf Ghani, Deputy Governor of Nangarhar Mohammad Hanif Gerdiwal expressed serious concern about the one million registered and undocumented Afghans that have returned from Pakistan and Iran so far this year, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of Afghans that have been displaced by conflict.

“Until Afghans have returned to their home country and reintegrate into their own land, our society is like an incomplete body,” said Deputy Governor Geridiwal, reading the President’s message. “To help with their reintegration, we must provide returning migrants with shelter, medical, education, clean water and other social services. With this in mind, we have pledged 162 million Afghanis to assist returning Afghans.”

Undocumented Afghans, who are not formally registered as refugees in their host country, face unique challenges both abroad and when they return to Afghanistan. Since the beginning of the year, over 660,000 undocumented Afghans have returned from Pakistan and Iran.

Returns of undocumented Afghans from Pakistan in particular have increased dramatically, from 119,000 in 2015 to over 242,000 so far in 2016. According to IOM’s recently launched socio-economic survey of returnees from Pakistan, over 72 percent have chosen to settle in Nangarhar.

“We are marking this Migrants Day in Jalalabad because returns of migrants have heavily impacted the eastern region, and Jalalabad in particular,” said Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Ahmad Wali Hakami. “The needs are still great, and we call upon the international community to continue supporting returnees”.

In addition, Afghans continue to comprise the second largest group of asylum seekers arriving in Europe, facing numerous dangers on their journeys by land and sea. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports that over 6,300 migrants have died so far in 2016, including many Afghans.

The continued need to combat trafficking in persons in Afghanistan was also highlighted at the event. IOM recently launched a three-year project to strengthen Afghan institutions to effectively prosecute traffickers, protect victims and improve regional coordination.

“With increased migration comes increased trafficking in persons,” said IOM’s Nasir Ahmad Haidarzai. “Together with the Government of Afghanistan we are following a ‘Prevent, Protect and Partnership’ approach to help combat the scourge of trafficking.”

On 18 December 1990, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. International Migrants Day was officially proclaimed by the General Assembly in 2000.

For further information, please contact Nasir Ahmad Haidarzai from IOM (nhaidarzai@iom.int, +93 794 100 542) or Hafiz Ahmad Miakhail from the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (media.morr@gmail.com, +93 799 414 823).