Afghans with international protection should not be deported: UNHCR

ISLAMABAD  -  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday reacted to the deadline set to evict over 1 million illegal immigrants from Paki­stan sand stated that the return must be vol­untary and without any pressure. 

“Any refugee return must be voluntary and without any pressure to ensure protection for those seeking safe­ty,” Qaisar Khan Afridi, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told Anadolu. He went on to say, “We have seen dis­concerting press re­ports about a plan to deport undocument­ed Afghans and we are seeking clarity from our government partners,” Afridi further said.

He urged Islamabad which has been generously host­ing refugees for more than 40 years to put in place a mechanism to ensure that Afghans with internation­al protection are not de­ported. We must also keep in mind that those fleeing persecution often do not have the necessary docu­ments and travel permis­sions,” he maintained. He said the UNHCR stands ready to support Pakistan in developing a mecha­nism to manage and regis­ter people in need of inter­national protection on its territory and respond to “particular vulnerabilities. “Pakistan has remained a generous refugee host for decades. This role has been acknowledged glob­ally but more needs to be done to match its generos­ity,” he added. According to the latest UN figures, some 1.3 million Afghans en­joy the status of registered refugees, while another 880,000 have legal status to stay in Pakistan.

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