AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: More than 600,000 Afghans returned home voluntarily or were deported from Pakistan and Iran last year, bringing the number of returnees to Afghanistan since 2001 to over eight million.
IOM said on Thursday reintegration in Afghan society was difficult for returnees, with the country still mired in conflict and faced with high levels of internal displacement, limited services and few jobs.
The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation coordinates the provision of humanitarian post-arrival and reintegration assistance in close cooperation with UNHCR and IOM.
A statement from IOM said it coordinated assistance to undocumented returnees while UNHCR coordinated efforts to help registered refugees.
IOM Chief of Mission Laurence Hart said: “This joint report reflects our shared commitment to assist the most vulnerable.
“In spite of the inherent challenges of returning home, sometimes after decades abroad, IOM and UNHCR are working hand in hand to ensure sustainable solutions are provided to returnees.”
UNHCR Country Representative Fathiaa Abdallah was quoted as saying: “We continue to assist tens of thousands of Afghans each year. As the report details, the true challenge now lies in a whole-of-community response that leaves no one behind.”
While the impact of returns on host communities was assessed, Hart stressed the need for greater efforts to ensure development programmes and policies were focused on successful reintegration.”
In February, the two organisations held a one-day strategic planning workshop in Kabul. They will shortly sign a data-sharing agreement and formalise a joint communications and outreach strategy.