7 October, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

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

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 09/16/2004
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
UN against Islamabad over repatriation of Afghan refugees
03/31/2009 AFGHANISTAN
Education, health care and social assistance to fight terrorism
Rising number of refugees in the world worrisome
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
Pope: In “extremely difficult social and marital context”, Church called to carry out mission in fidelity, truth and charity.The opening Mass of the Synod on "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world," Pope Francis speaks of the paradoxes of global society: "power" accompanied by loneliness and helplessness." Today's man "ridicules" the family and love, but thirsts for it. The Church bears witness to indissoluble love, but must not forget to care and sustain "the man who falls or who errs." "A Church with closed doors betrays itself and its mission, and instead of being a bridge it becomes a barrier."
Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong in the top ten of the world economyWorld Economic Forum on competitiveness ranking published. Top three unchanged since last year: Switzerland, Singapore and the United States. Japan sixth, followed by Hong Kong. The world economy is slowing down compared to the previous decade, only exception- addition to China - India, which gains 16 positions.
Pope in the US: “We Christians, the Lord’s disciples, ask the families of the world to help us”In the last Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Francis Pope highlights the daily "little gestures" that define the family, which is “the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith". Gratitude, respect, and collaboration with families in which the Spirit operates can be found in every “family, people, region, or religion”.


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.