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Afghanistan: spontaneous repatriation stretching registration system capacity

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: spontaneous repatriation stretching registration system capacity

15 March 2002

Spontaneous repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan is stretching the capacity of UNHCR's registration system. Yesterday, 8,509 people (1,603 families) in 480 vehicles were registered at the Takhtabaig Voluntary Repatriation Centre near Peshawar. By the end of the day, there were still 3,522 people (660 families) waiting to be registered. They were processed today, even though the centre is usually closed on Fridays, and are returning home. With today's returnees, the number of Afghans returned with UNHCR assistance over the past two weeks is now 45,446 (8,801 families).

On Thursday, UNHCR staff at the registration centre had to be nearly doubled to more than 70. They worked in two shifts to decongest the centre before the weekend.

UNHCR is opening a way station close to the Afghan border where returning refugees can spend the night safely if they do not make it across the frontier in time. We also are working with the Pakistan government to identify sites for additional Voluntary Repatriation Centres. We expect to open another centre in Nawa Pass on 1 April.