IOM’s Protection programme supports IDPs and undocumented returnees at risk to return and/or reintegrate in safety and dignity through the provision of tailored protection 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 undocumented returnees with specific needs, including women/children at risk, serious medical cases and persons with disabilities. The team works in close collaboration with IOM’s Cross Border Assistance and Migration Health programmes. Cases facing protection risks are being referred for post-arrival assistance, including provision of information, referrals, and assistance such as family tracing and reunification, emergency accommodation, and safe transportation to returnees’ chosen final destination.

Safe and dignified return and/or integration of IDPs and undocumented returnees is supported through comprehensive 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, and one-off assistance such as cash for protection to meet immediate needs and mitigate protection risks to prevent resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as begging, child labor and child marriage.

Regular protection monitoring through surveys, interviews and community discussions is undertaken in coordination with the Afghanistan Protection Cluster to understand the protection environment for undocumented returnees and IDPs. 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 Afghanistan’s Protection programme is funded by the EU’s Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Afghanistan Humanitarian fund (AHF), the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and the Government of the Netherlands (COMPASS).