Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

UNHCR and IOM urge Pakistan to maintain protection space for Afghans in need of safety

Press releases

UNHCR and IOM urge Pakistan to maintain protection space for Afghans in need of safety

Joint press statement by UNHCR and IOM
7 October 2023

BANGKOK — UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, are appealing to Pakistan to continue its protection of all vulnerable Afghans who have sought safety in the country and could be at imminent risk if forced to return.

The appeal comes after Pakistan announced plans to repatriate Afghan nationals back to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is going through a severe humanitarian crisis with several human rights challenges, particularly for women and girls. Such plans would have serious implications for all who have been forced to leave the country and may face serious protection risks upon return. 

 UNHCR and IOM acknowledge the Government's sovereign prerogative over domestic policies, its need to manage populations on its territory, and its obligations to ensure public safety and security.

UNHCR and IOM have a longstanding and strong collaboration with the Government of Pakistan and stand ready to provide support in developing a comprehensive and sustainable mechanism to register and manage Afghan nationals, including those who may be in need of international protection.

UNHCR and IOM appreciate Pakistan’s generous hospitality towards Afghan nationals for over four decades, despite challenges, and repeats the call for all returns to be voluntary, safe and dignified — without any pressure, to ensure protection for those seeking safety. The forced repatriation of Afghan nationals has the potential to result in severe human rights violations, including the separation of families and deportation of minors. 

UNHCR and IOM continue to call on all countries to suspend forcible returns of Afghan nationals and ensure any possible returns to the country take place in a safe, dignified and voluntary manner. 




For more information, please contact: