Pakistan continues to be one of the world’s largest refugee hosting countries providing safety to some 1.3M people forced to flee their countries
UNHCR supports efforts undertaken by the Government of Pakistan to provide protection and assistance, while strengthening cohesion in host communities
With a focus on global solidarity, the Solution Strategy for the Afghan Refugees (SSAR)guides the strategic direction of refugee programming in Pakistan
For more than 40 years, Pakistan has a long and commendable tradition of providing protection to refugees and asylum-seekers. An estimated 1.3million displaced people with protection needs are living in Pakistan. These include mainly Afghan refugees holding Proof of Registration (PoR), as well as a small number of non-Afghan refugees and asylum-seekers from other countries such as Myanmar, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. Pakistan does not have a national asylum system in place nor is it signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. UNHCR continues to advocate for a better access by refugees and asylum seekers to basic rights in the country while enhancing self-reliance among refugees and their host communities for sustainable solutions.
- Registration: Government of Pakistan -the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), the Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees (CCAR)-and UNHCR with a technical support of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) concluded the Documentation Renewal and lnformation Verification Exercise (DRIVE) in February 2022. The exercise aimed to verify and update records of the Proof of Registration (PoR) holders and to address the need for new identity documents of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. These smartcards provide faster and safer access to services such as health and education and banking. PoR holders can update their registration data on an ongoing basis through 11 dedicated centres across the country.
- Legal Assistance: UNHCR operates nine Advice and Legal Aid Centres (ALACs) in the main refugee-hosting areas run by two partners. These centres directly secure release of persons of concern who are arrested/detained, conduct legal awareness raising sessions with the community and capacity building activities with law enforcement agencies on the rights of refugees.
- Community-based protection: With the support of Outreach Volunteers (OVs), refugee elders and focal points in the community, UNHCR empowers refugees and their host communities to mitigate protection risks, mobilise behavioural change, and to identify community-led initiatives aimed at sustainable solutions. UNHCR also supports Social Cohesion Hubs to bring together the refugee and hosting communities and build existing capacities among its members. Pakistan Impact Areas
- Child Protection and Gender-based Violence: UNHCR and partners implement programmes for child protection and gender-based violence survivors, including case management, psychosocial support, life skills programmes, safe houses and friendly spaces, alternative care, family tracing and reunification, in addition to community outreach and awareness programmes. Prevention, risk mitigation of and response to GBV are also part of the response, with women and girls’ empowerment activities.