Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) strongly condemns Pakistan’s recent decision to begin deporting Afghans from its territory beginning on November 1. Thousands of Afghans arriving at the border face limited access to humanitarian assistance and political turmoil as Afghanistan continues to struggle to meet the needs of its citizens.
“The number of Afghan returnees are huge at the borders, and this will be a significant disaster for Afghanistan with the onset of winter and already a disastrous situation in the country,” said Sandesh Gonsalves, Country Director of JRS Afghanistan.
Afghans represent the second largest group of refugees and displaced persons in the world with Pakistan hosting more than 1.4 million registered Afghans and an estimated 1.7 million other unregistered or undocumented foreigners. Many Afghans living in Pakistan were displaced decades ago while some arrived after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.
“Like any displaced person, Afghans must be afforded the right to seek asylum and the dignity of voluntary return rather than forced deportation,” said Gonsalves. “JRS stands by Afghans in search of safety and protection and urges host governments and the world community to meet their needs.”
In response to the crisis, JRS is coordinating with the United Nations and other agencies to provide support upon arrival at the border. Families require immediate and long-term assistance, including mental health and psychosocial support and access to education, as they travel onwards to their places of origin.