Afghan Refugees Ask UNHCR For COVID-19 Aid In Pakistan

Afghan refugees in Pakistan have asked the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other agencies to help those dislocated people who have been either infected with COVID-19 or have died of the virus.
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“Unlike permanent citizens, the Afghan refugees who had become victims of Coronavirus in Pakistan have neither special package or compensation amount despite that hundreds of Afghan refugees have been infected with this virus,” said the Committee for Resolution of the Problems of Afghan Refugees (CRPAR), an organisation that says its working for the refugees in Pakistan.

They said the UNHCR had announced Rs. 12,000 compensation for “registered” Afghan refugees in the refugee village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but many deserving Afghan families had been ignored.

“Even we have no data of Afghan refugees infected with or dying of coronavirus in Pakistan,” the CRPAR said.

Arsalan Kharoti, head of the organisation, said the COVID-19 pandemic had also adversely affected those Afghan refugees who had businesses, restaurants, transport or were daily wagers in Pakistan as result of prolonged lockdown and restrictions.

He urged the Pakistani government to provide health, education, drinking water and electricity facilities at the refugee villages and also complained of landowners evicting them from camps.

In the Sindh region of Pakistan, the hashtag #SendBackAfghanRefugees has been trending for a while with protests and marches being organised.

The UNHCR had convened a global high-level meeting on Wednesday to seek practical support and galvanize action of durable solution for Afghan refugees.

The initiative sought strategic investments in education, health, training and youth empowerment as a priority as nearly half the Afghan population of 37 million are under 15 years of age. In Pakistan, some 64% of registered Afghan refugees are below the age of 25.
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Pakistan hosts 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees.

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