Pakistan Seeks Additional Aid for Afghan Refugees
Following recent claims of Afghan refugees posing security threats, Pakistan is now seeking additional aid to support the displaced communities inside its territory, according to latest local media reports.
More than 2 million Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan. The country would like to repatriate 1.6 million of them, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). Meanwhile, the U.N. agency has set aside funds for the return of only 60,000 refugees.
With 30 percent of the refugees arriving in Europe being from Afghanistan, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi admitted that “The issue of Afghan displacement has been overlooked” and that “we must strengthen the support to host countries,” at a recent meeting in Islamabad, according to the same reports.
Pakistan receives meager aid to support the refugees – $5.20 per refugee, per year – according to international NGOs. This aid is earmarked for healthcare and education and only applies to those who are registered.
Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan constitute the largest and most protracted refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate. While Palestinian refugees are the largest displaced population in the world, they fall under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA).
Following ‘Brexit’ Vote, Calais Residents Want Refugees Moved
In light of the U.K.’s referendum vote to exit the European Union, locals in Calais, France, would like to see the “town’s huge refugee camp moved over the Channel,” according to the Guardian.
The BBC also reported that the mayor of Calais would like to change the terms of a long-running deal that “allows Britain to carry out immigration checks on the French side of the English Channel.”
While the total number of refugees at Calais is often disputed, it has been as high as 6,000 people living in various settlements located around the port, subject to periodic raids and evacuations.
The migrants and refugees living in the camps are from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa. Most have remained at the site in the hope of crossing over to the British side, often with the help of smugglers.
British government officials have not yet responded to French calls for moving the refugees to the U.K.
Fears of the Rising Right Wing in Europe After ‘Brexit’ Vote
Asylum seekers are sharing concerns about the “continued rise of conservative extremism” on social media forums following the U.K. vote to exit the E.U., according to some European media reports.
In a Facebook group called “Syrian refugees in Germany,” a Syrian man from Aleppo posted, “The anti-refugees far right will rule the countries, it’s just a matter of time.” Such fears were also expressed by NGOs and pro-refugee support groups.
Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), told Middle East Eye that the “highly divisive” campaign was one in which “immigrants and refugees were somehow seen as the great evil that was coming in to swamp the country.”
European far-right parties such as France’s Front National (F.N.) celebrated the vote as a victory for their own ideals and called for similar such referendums in their own countries, according to a report in the Guardian.
- Al Jazeera English: Pakistan Seeks International Help for Afghan Refugees
- BrietBart News: Pakistan: Afghan Refugee Camps Are Safe Havens for Terrorists
- BBC News: Why is There a Crisis in Calais?
- Help Refugees: Calais Camps: Total Number of Residents Revealed for the First Time
- Alternet: Refugees and Migrants Wake Up to Brexit and Brace for What Comes Next
- Equal Times: Brexit: Where Refugee Crisis Meets Identity Crisis