19 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 09/16/2004 13:26
PAKISTAN
United Nations tasks Faisalabad Caritas with repatriating Afghan refugees living in local diocese
by Qaiser Felix

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) asked Caritas Pakistan to collaborate in the voluntary repatriation programme for Afghan refugees currently living in the country.

Anjum Gill, diocesan executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan in Faisalabad, told AsiaNews that the Catholic non governmental organisation is the only NGO dealing with the issue.

Caritas' secretary general tasked the Faisalabad branch with conducting a survey among local Afghan refugees. The latter contacted local government authorities to gather information but was told that none was available. When its teams did survey the area alone, they found 510 Afghan families for a total 2550 people living in ten separate areas in the city of Faisalabad. "There are still five areas within the diocese that will soon be surveyed. We expect to find another 1500 families," Mr Gill said.

According to the Faisalabad diocesan executive secretary, most refugees do not want go back home because of the current difficulties in Afghanistan. Many have been able to obtain Pakistani identity papers by less than legal means. "Local politicians and religious extremists helped them: the former want their vote, the latter want to use them," Mr Gill charged. Ignorance and poverty make Afghans easy targets "for exploitation", he added.

The Caritas report highlights how local government ha so far failed to measure and understand the refugee problem.

To complete its task, Caritas in Faisalabad has appealed to foreign donors. Mr Gill expects that "as soon as money arrives, we shall provide refugees with food, shelter and repatriation papers". He also said that any debts refugees may have contracted in Pakistan will be settled.

According to the 2003 three-party agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR, all Afghan refugees must be voluntarily repatriated by 2006. Till then they are entitled to the UNHCR's regular repatriation assistance package.

There are about 200 refugee camps throughout Pakistan especially in the North-West corner of the country along the border with Afghanistan. So far the UN refugee agency has helped 2.25 million Afghan refugees go home. In the first five months of 2004 an additional 100,000 Afghan refugees have been repatriated.

The diocese of Faisalabad covers a 35,300 km2 area and is home to about 132,000 Catholics. Caritas operates in the territories of Faisalabad, Toba Tek Sing, Jhang, Okara, Pukara and Sahiwaal.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/18/2008 PAKISTAN – AFGHANISTAN – UN
UN against Islamabad over repatriation of Afghan refugees
03/31/2009 AFGHANISTAN
Education, health care and social assistance to fight terrorism
06/19/2008 WORLD REFUGEE DAY – UN
Rising number of refugees in the world worrisome
06/20/2005 ASIA – WORLD REFUGEE DAY
Jesuit Refugee Service: The world must not forget Bhutanese refugees
10/24/2005 PAKISTAN
Kashmir tragedy is "never-ending for millions of people"

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.