By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan has been suspended following the closure of Torkham and Chaman crossings and as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, the United Nations agency for refugees said Tuesday.
“We have temporarily suspended voluntary repatriation due to the extenuating circumstances. UNHCR’s utmost priority is to support global efforts on lessening the spread and impact of COVID-19, and to assist the Government of Pakistan with its comprehensive preparedness and response plans,” said the UNHCR Deputy Representative in Pakistan, Mr. Iain Hall.
The voluntary repatriation programme had resumed on 2 March 2020 after a three-month winter break. So far, nine families – a total of 28 individuals – have returned to Afghanistan.
Pakistan hosts more than 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees (holding Proof of Registration cards). Since 2002, some 4.4 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan under the UNHCR-facilitated voluntary repatriation operation