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.